Newry Councillor opens up about depression and suicide attempt

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Friday, March 4th, 2016
Community, News, Politics
Independent Newry City Councillor Kevin McAteer has opened up about his battle with depression in an effort to raise awareness on what he described as a ‘growing issue’ in society.
Independent Newry Councillor Kevin McAteer

Independent Newry Councillor Kevin McAteer

The Councillor says he attempted suicide in 2008 following a period of depression and self-harm. He explained to Newry Times that he has been living with depression and said it was time to talk about mental health. The Independent Councillor spoke of the importance of opening up about his own experiences, which he hopes will help others. “Depression is something I’ve learned to live with for the past 9 years. “It comes in cycles and can last anywhere from a few days to weeks and even months and I know that talking about it with friends and family can help. He added, “It is important that people realise that there are many others out there who are suffering from depression and haven’t opened up about it.” Kevin revealed his own battle after it was recently revealed that Northern Ireland has the highest rate of suicide in the UK for the second year in a row. He said that a recent working group at Stormont failed to meet, which prompted the Newry councillor and many others to call for action on mental health in our community and protect vital services.
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10131 Longwalk Campaign Newry Times_2 400pxX400 v02The Health Minister recently stated in the assembly, “Academic research estimates that, for every suicide, there are at least six members of the close family who are deeply affected and up to 60 other people who know the deceased and are touched by the death.
McAteer called for

McAteer called for more equality for those with mental health conditions

“That indicates that, over the past 10 years alone, some 17,000 people in Northern Ireland have been profoundly affected by suicide, and at least 10% of our population know someone well who has died by suicide. The Health Minister added, “Men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women – and the majority of people who die by suicide are not previously known to mental health services.” Councillor McAteer says we need more equality for those with mental health conditions and we need to remove the stigma associated to it. McAteer also called on the political parties to put mental health at the top of the agenda during and after the next election. “I personally don’t think there is enough being done to fight mental health,” he insisted. “There is a stigma attached to mental health to a point where people tend to think differently about those suffering from depression etc.” He added, “We need to remove that stigma from society in an effort to encourage people to open up. With the elections looming I wonder how high a priority mental health issues are on the candidate’s agenda. In fact, I believe mental health issues need to be top of the agenda during the next mandate at Stormont.”
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