Suicide, self-harm and depression remain an issue

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THE number of people from the district being admitted to hospital with mood or anxiety disorders has more than doubled in the past five years.

In 2005 the figure sat at 12, but by 2010 it had risen to 28, the latest information reveals. Meanwhile figures in relation to self-harm show that almost 900 people were admitted to hospital between 2000 and 2009 after causing harm to themselves.

The proportion of females in this bracket is higher, something Protect Life Manager Najla Basketfield said does not surprise her.

“Sixty-eight per cent of clients have been females. Although the majority of clients I see are at more early stages of anxiety and depression with only 3 per cent having been actively suicidal when presenting to me,” said Ms Basketfield. “The main issues have been debt and relationship problems.”

While depression can be caused by a number of factors it is thought rising unemployment in recent years may have contributed to a number of issues which can lead to depression. Sixty-three people have died by suicide in the district district since 2009.

Philip Ogle, from PIPS in Banbridge said the high numbers reinforce the need for increased awareness of mental health issues.

“It is alarming to see that some statistics in the Banbridge area have risen considerably and this highlights further the need for more awareness of this issue.

“While there are some invaluable resources within the area there still remains a lot of work to be done in understanding and awareness in the field of self-harm and suicide.The main objective of PIPS is to merely signpost people in need of help and to facilitate training on the awareness of those in need.”

Anyone experiencing mental health issues can contact a number of organisations. Protect Life and MindWise can be accessed via a GP referral. The Samartians are available on 08457909090 and Lifeline, a 24/7 service can be contacted on 08008088000.