Page last updated at 13:00 GMT, Friday, 28 March 2008

NI link-up on Bridgend suicides

Man holding head in hands
Bridgend in south Wales has experienced almost 20 suicides

A suicide support link is to be developed between the north Armagh area and Bridgend in south Wales.

Portadown psychologist Dr Arthur Cassidy has just returned from the town, where there have been almost 20 suicides in the last year.

North Armagh has experienced a similar number of suicides in the same period.

"Our experience - studying the reasons for suicides and the cluster mentality - can be of great help to Bridgend," Dr Cassidy told the Portadown Times.

During his two-day trip to Bridgend, Dr Cassidy spoke to Samaritans volunteers and addressed an audience at a local college.

He also observed the work done by a church-linked group in relation to suicide prevention among young people.

Pastor Mark Thomas will visit Portadown next month with a view to setting up a support network between the two towns.

Cluster suicides

"It has to be said, that - just as here - the statutory agencies are dealing in theories and not practicalities - they are mainly nine-to-five people and are simply not getting into the heart of the communities and to the heart of the matter," continued Dr Cassidy.

"Studies show that a cluster of suicides comprises of anything from three to 11 young people taking their own lives, often through compulsion, feeling they are a burden on society or through the contagious copy-cat effect, when their peers commit suicides and they are featured on the internet."

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