A North Belfast man who lost his son to suicide and then set up his own suicide prevention charity has been appointed to a steering group evaluating the mental health strategy in the North.

Philip McTaggart, who  founded PIPS after the loss of his own son Philip Og, is to sit on the Protect Life Evaluation Steering Group along with mental health professionals and other representatives with a stake in mental health service in the North of Ireland.

The steering group will look at the Department of Health’s Protect Life Strategy, which was launched in 2006 to reduce the suicide rate in the North.

Philip McTaggart said he is pleased that he will be able to give a voice to local people on the influential steering group.

“It is important that we look at what is working and what is not working,” he said.

“If there are things that need to be changed or improved then we will be able to. I just want to let people know that I am on this and if they have any views or questions to email me and I will raise them.

“We know how important the suicide strategy is in an area like North Belfast and I am please to have been accepted onto the steering group and will continue to do all I can to prevent any more deaths.”

The steering group will be chaired by the head of the Belfast Trust Colm Donaghy and has other influential members including leading Mater Hospital consultant psychiatrists Dr Maria O’Kane and Dr Philip McGarry.

Philip McTaggart can be contacted via email pipmct@hotmail.com