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Suicide linked to alcohol

29th June 2011

An inquiry has found that alcohol plays a major part in why people choose to commit suicide.

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The National Confidential Inquiry was in charge of the 'Suicide and Homicide in Northern Ireland' report.

Health Minister Edwin Poots will launch the report on Wednesday and it is intended to make improvements to mental health services in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Health said there were more than three hundred suicides in Northern Ireland in 2010, which was the most ever recorded in the country.

Professor Louis Appleby from the University of Manchester was in charge of the research.

He said: "It is a concern that Northern Ireland suicide rates are high by UK standards. It is also a concern that they have been rising whereas in other parts of the UK suicide has been falling."

The report also found a strong link between alcohol and the increased suicide rate.

Professor Appleby said: "Of all the patients who died by suicide, 60% were thought to be misusing alcohol by their doctors. About half of these were alcohol dependent."

Dr Uzma Huda, Vice Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Northern Ireland said that alcohol should have a minimum price.

She said: "We can no longer afford to ignore the growing trend linking alcohol and suicide, particularly in young people."

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