Signs reaching out to those in deep distress or contemplating suicide have been erected at Craigavon Lakes.
The signage is the brainchild of Craigavon branch of Samaritans, which approached Craigavon Borough Council in November 2011 about the possibility of erecting signs at the lakes.
A formal proposal was submitted in October 2012, followed by further discussions and correspondence with council representatives between then and the early months of 2014, including very helpful and supportive discussions with the then Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Mark Baxter.
The Samaritans proposal was for the erection of four signs at selected locations around the Craigavon Lakes. In a situation where the number of suicides in Northern Ireland was increasing annually and suicide prevention was a priority for Government and the public services generally, Craigavon Samaritans felt this proposal would be a worthwhile local initiative.
The project was to be funded by Craigavon Samaritans – a voluntary body funded entirely by donations from the general public and local fundraising events.
The proposals were approved in May and the signs were erected in October 2014.
The branch has thanked thecouncil for supporting the signage project and the former Mayor, Councillor Mark Baxter, Councillor Carla Lockhart and council officers. Councillor Lockhart said at the May Council meeting – “If the signs make one person think again, they will have done their job.”
Mr Baxter said: “I’m delighted to finally see this initiative come to Craigavon Lakes and I must pay tribute to the Samaritans locally who not only do sterling work in the community, but by their determination and persistence have seen this project come to fruition. I’m glad that I’ve played a small part and will continue to champion the need for suicide awareness.”
Craigavon Mayor Colin McCusker said; “These four signs... are a brilliant idea and I was more than happy to support this proposal during my time as Deputy Mayor. Suicide in Northern Ireland is something we have as a collective society need to get to grips with, and only last week, I supported anti-bullying week, in a small effort, to help combat suicide in young people.”