Delta Packaging a major employer in West Belfast held a mental health information event last Thursday 4th February in its premises at Kennedy Way Industrial Estate.

Employing around 300 –  the company’s management is keen to ensure staff can access the right support and information relating to mental health when they or their family/friends need it. Organisation attending the event included Belfast Mental Health Rights Group, EBCDA, PIPs, and CONTACT (Lifeline) Fergal Doyle Human Resource Manager highlighted the importance of good health in this growing company:

‘’All aspects of staff health need to be taken in to consideration – mental health has to be treated on the same basis as physical health and that’s why we are rolling out a number of health information events in the coming months – starting with mental health. The  good health of staff  is inextricably linked to a thriving company. We are delighted to have the help of four organisations here today to run the event brought together by PPR (Participation and the Practice of Rights).’

The event came on the same week that Northern Ireland was revealed to have the highest rate of suicide in the UK, per head of population, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The latest available figures show that during 2014 there were 16.5 suicides per 100,000 in Northern Ireland.

Scotland had the second highest rate, at 14.5, followed by 10.3 in England and 9.2 in Wales.

Bobby Duffin representing  Belfast Mental Health Rights Group, who campaign for improvements in mental health services, said:-

‘We know the rate of male suicide here is very high and everything possible must be done to get the information out to people especially men and their families when they need it.  This is a great opportunity here today given that the workforce here is mostly male. 10/10 families and carers told us in surveys we carried out in 2015 that they are NOT getting the information they need when someone is in mental health crisis. ’

Stephanie Green from PPR praised the company: “This has been a great opportunity to talk to a lot of staff and get information to them which they can use themselves or for family or friends. The staff actively showed their support for more information being given to families and carers of those in mental health crisis by signing 60 support cards calling on for the ‘Family Guide’ information booklet to be given out at A& Es and GP surgeries. Their support is greatly appreciated ‘