‘Tragic death of young migrant worker highlights growing trend of suicides’ – McGinn

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Monday, February 4th, 2013
Community, News

Newry and Mourne Councillor Pat McGinn has said that the recent tragic death of a young migrant worker has highlighted the growing trend in suicides amongst the migrant population.

McGinn insists there is a need for a cohesive and campaigning suicide prevention movement which would be accessible to those who encounter linguistic and cultural barriers to such support services.

Speaking to Newry Times, McGinn stated, “I am aware of five eastern Europeans living here in the Newry area having ended their own lives within the last six months. Most of them were young men in their twenties. I was very distressed to learn of the death of a young man who had been directed to me in relation to his addiction issues.

“Despite the efforts of myself and others, this young man ended his own life and it has deeply affected all who tried to signpost him to the appropriate support he needed. These cases clearly reflect a growing trend of suicides amongst migrants living and working here.

McGinn continued, “Many feel a sense of being trapped by loneliness, lack of money and the shame of not getting a proper job or not making enough money. They can see no prospects.

“I am a father and have family members living and working away from home and I would want to think that if they were in similar type of trouble, that there would be someone or some service there to try and help them.”

The Sinn Féin elected representative said the frequency of suicides both locally and nationally is a cause of great concern. “Much work is focused currently on ensuring a  suicide strategy is in place that will identify risk factors, take action via cross-sector organisations and ultimately reduce suicide rates.

“However, for migrants who have made here their home, linguistic and cultural barriers are significant obstacles for those who may find themselves in despair and hopelessness.

“The tendency amongst those who find themselves in this predicament is to conceal their concerns, suppress their sense of shame, and avoid discussing the problem or getting professional help.

“It is essential that trusted, accessible community-based facilities supported by skilled and experienced mental health professionals are made accessible to all those in need of such services whether they be for local people or migrants.”

The Councillor said that he had asked Newry and Mourne Council to convene a special meeting with a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the issue. He added, “It is important to develop local solutions in partnership with those on the ground who are often best placed to see the needs.”


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