Newry, Mourne & Down: Our Focus

After local government reform in 2015, we expanded our focus from Down district to the new Newry Mourne and Down Council area. We campaigned for Council the new to adopt a suicide down to zero approach in the District which they did in 2019.

One of the other things we tried to influence was the lack of public/community information about suicide. When unsuccessful at convincing Government to mount a public information campaign we sourced and adapted our own (Art of Conversation etc).

We could not ignore the gaps in training provision or postvention support. We now provide ASIST & safeTALK trainings and facilitate peer support to survivors – following suicide death. We have also enabled survivors to connect with each at our annual Hope and Healing events. In the past we have provided survivor support group(s) and hope to do so in the future. We also have small budgets for talking therapy for people in crisis situation and for practical postvention support (examples: – assistance to family who had property destroyed during a suicide and helping a young survivor secure accommodation)

Although our operational base is Downpatrick, we have a presence across the District with good links to Sports clubs businesses and other charities/organizations.


  • We believe there is no acceptable level of suicide
  • Suicide is preventable not inevitable
  • Suicide is a public health issue not a mental health one; mental illness and suicide are related but not synonymous
  • The only way to prevent suicide is to talk about it, openly and directly

  • Telling suicidal people to get help is not enough. We must be trained and learn how to identify when they need help and then promptly provide it


Pat McGreevy
Pat McGreevyChairperson & Trustee
Pat is a retired Mental Health Services Improvement Manager. A Mental Health Nurse by background he spent many years of his career in the field of suicide prevention. He is the current Chairperson of Loughinisland Community Association. Pat was involved in bringing the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) programme to Northern Ireland in 2003. He is an ASIST Trainer and a Senior Training Coach with ASIST (Living Works Education). Pat is one of the charity board trustees.
Kevin McGuinness
Kevin McGuinnessTrustee
Kevin is currently employed by Belfast Health & Social Services Trust. His work as a social worker involves providing care to young people on the edge of care and supporting the families of these young clients Kevin serves on the committee of St Colmans GAC Drumaness and is a member of their Mental Health team which provides outreach to their local community Kevin uses the skills he has learnt in ASIST in his day to day work and within his community. He has also gained experience in supporting people who have developed addiction problems.
Alison Carson
Alison CarsonTreasurer & Trustee
Alison Carson currently works part-time in Pepper Johns Community/Outreach Centre Downpatrick. Pepper Johns is a focal point for many community activities. Alison has established a ladies group and is the process of setting up a Mens’ Shed. Alison is also on the Board of Governors of one of the local primary schools. Her journey with Suicide Down to Zero is a personal one, having lost a brother to suicide 27 years ago when suicide was a very much a taboo subject. Since then, she has gained more knowledge and understanding by completing the ASSIST course and joining Suicide Down to Zero Board.
Joe Canavan
Joe Canavan--
Joe retired from the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust in 2017. Prior to retirement Joe worked within the Health Improvement team and this led to him becoming part of the trust’s Suicide Prevention team. Joe trains ASIST, Mental Health First Aid and safeTALK. On retirement Joe wanted to continue to use his interest, experience and skills and was delighted to join Suicide Down to Zero.
Billy Fyffe
Billy Fyffe--
Billy Fyffe currently works for the Church of Ireland in the Lecale area running various youth and children’s programme as well as outreach projects in Killough. Billy has many years experience working within the faith based and voluntary sector delivering mental health initiatives to children, young people and families. Billy recently gained more knowledge and understanding by completing the SafeTalk and ASIST courses through Suicide Down to Zero.


Everyone can contribute to eliminating suicide in our area. You can learn more about suicide by acquiring a copy of our ‘We need to talk about…. suicide’ booklet or attending one of the 1 hour awareness sessions based on the booklet. You can take the 3 & 1/2 hour safeTALK training and become more alert to the possibility of suicide. You could attend the 2 day ASIST training and become a suicide first-aider.