Shocking statistics reveal that there have been more deaths from suicide in recent years, than there were during three decades of conflict.

Recently published figures state that 4,500 suicides were registered since The Good Friday peace agreement was signed in 1998. 

During The Troubles (1969 - 1997) some 3,600 people died as a result of shootings, bombings, and violence.

Read More: How Belfast emerged from The Troubles much changed and strangely vibrant

A republican funeral during the Troubles

A republican funeral during the Troubles

The statistics paint a worrying picture regarding the state of mental health in Northern Ireland. Campaigners are expected to present the findings to Members of Parliament (MPs) at Westminster today, in a bid to tackle the current mental health crisis.

A spokesperson from the Royal College of Psychiatry stated that Northern Ireland’s mental health illness is currently 25% higher than in England. This recent article in the Belfast Telegraph corroborates this statement - but claims that mental health funding is 25% less in Northern Ireland than in the UK.

Experts from the University are now calling for a regional trauma unit to be established, to help people cope with the legacy of the Troubles, among other inherent political issues that they believe are causing individual’s much strife and pain.

Read More: Martin McGuinness' life amid The Troubles recalled in new book

Dr Iris Elliott of the Mental Health Foundation told The Guardian, “We cannot achieve a peaceful society in Northern Ireland without peaceful minds. If we invest in mental health support and work together to prevent mental health problems, then mental health will be an asset for our society. The failure to deliver for mental health over the last 13 months, and indeed over the last 20 years since the peace settlement, is unacceptable.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 297 people lost their lives by suicide in Northern Ireland in 2016.

This was a slight decrease from 2015, when 318 suicides were recorded, the highest number since records began in 1970.

If you, or anyone close to you, have been affected by issues raised in this article, call the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255, available 24 hours everyday.

A Northern Ireland mural commemorates those who lost their lives during a bombing in 1969.Flickr