A Belfast trust is bidding for up to £750,000 to build a 'one-stop' integrated youth service in an attempt to reduce suicides and teenage pregnancies.

The bid is part of the city's health action zone proposals, which include improving services for young people as one of three main themes.

Noel Rooney, director of operations and community services for North and West Belfast health and social services trust, last week hosted a reference group of young people selected 'to quality assure the work we are doing and test its relevance to the age group'.

The one-stop service stems directly from the work of a multi-agency suicide task group set up in Belfast last year, when there were 15 suicides in west Belfast by people aged 15 to 48.

All involved hanging, suggesting copycat tragedies.

Northern Ireland health minister John McFall has asked the multidisciplinary taskforce he set up last year to promote positive mental health to set up a sub-group on suicide.

In 1998, 124 deaths were recorded as suicides, including 28 deaths of young people under the age of 25.