Monday 19th April 2004
A BELFAST community group last night offered support to young people after the teenage grandson of loyalist politician David Ervine took his own life.
The death of 14-year-old Mark Ervine, from Bloomfield Road, east Belfast, has baffled his grief-stricken family and stunned friends.
Mark was found in his bedroom shortly after 7pm on Friday by his distraught mother, Anne.
The PUP leader has spoken of his grief at the sudden death of his only grandchild.
"There was no warning, no indication that he was about to do such a thing. He was talking to his dad just before and was making plans for the future.
"He asked could he stay out a bit later than usual and he asked could he stay at a mate's after a party the next night," Mr Ervine said.
The teenager was the son of Mr Ervine's son, Mark, 30, and played a big part in the politician's life.
His death brings the vulnerability of teenage boys back into focus, which was the subject of an intense awareness campaign earlier this year after a spate of teenage suicides in north Belfast.
A spokeswoman for the North and West Belfast Health and Social Services Trust urged teenagers who feel under pressure and unable to cope with the stresses of life to share their problems.
If your head's away just say, was the message of its advertising campaign to alert young men to some of the potential triggers to mental ill-health and suicide.
As the number of suicides among young men is comparable with the number of deaths by road accidents in Northern Ireland, she said it was vital that the problem was tackled.
She added the support group has dealt with many calls about suicide and self-harm since it was set up.
Young people bereaved by suicide or who need to talk to someone can contact the North and West Belfast Trust on 028 9032 7156 or visit the website http://www.heads-away-just-say.com/