There are few things worse than when a young life is snuffed out. It is worse if that young life sees no option for themself but to take their own life.
Recently there has been a lot of global headlines recently for the number of young LGBT people who have felt pressure from bullies to take their own life. But here in Northern Ireland there is another pressure that can come upon young lives. Threats from loyalist paramilitaries over debts accrued or for doing something wrong have led to a number of young people in the Shankhill area taking or contemplating taking their own lives.
It is too late for 18-year-old Michael Robinson who 6 weeks ago took his own life because he was threatened, after owing money to these thugs. But others are facing the same sort of threats that he faced, teenagers at a youth club in the area said:
“Your childhood is supposed to be the best period of your life and that’s what you always hear from adults and you’re supposed to be able to have a laugh with your mates and be a bit boisterous.
“I don’t think anyone should be getting threatened by paramilitaries about getting their knees blown off anything like that is too far and would drive you to having suicidal thoughts.”
It is time for the paramilitaries to back off. Their threats and heavy-handedness is leading to young people fearing the worse and therefore doing far worse to themselves than maybe what the threat of violence was that was facing them. Ending in them taking their own lives.
However, if you are feeling pressured and contemplating taking your own life talk to someone a friend, a member of your family, a youth worker. If you can’t or don’t want to talk to anyone that knows you then you can call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org