Northern Ireland Helplines Awareness Day
Northern Ireland Helplines Awareness Day tomorrow [6 February] will highlight the extensive range of helplines providing vital support, advice and information to the public across Northern Ireland.
The awareness day and an event at Belfast City Hall will be hosted by Helplines Network NI, a partnership made up of 30 helplines.
Sonya McMullan, Chair of the Helplines Network NI and Helpline Manager at the 24 Hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline, said: “Last year in Northern Ireland, our helplines responded to over half a million calls and web-based contacts. The helpline members provide a variety of vital support services including information, advice, counselling, a listening ear and befriending, covering a wide range of issues from health, to housing, benefits, employment, family, child protection and debt.”
The Helplines Network was established in 2013 as a partnership by the Public Health Agency (PHA) in collaboration with a number of helplines. The network was set up to promote effectiveness and efficiency, provide a forum for helplines to share good practice, and encourage partnership working.
Mary Black, Assistant Director of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement at the PHA, said: “It is critical when people need help that they know where they can access it. Helplines support people to make choices and decisions on many aspects of their lives and are a very important resource for health and wellbeing. The Helplines Network NI website provides a central information point to find support for various issues, signposting people to the telephone numbers and services they need. We would encourage anyone who feels like they need help to find out more about the services that are available.”
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister, said: “NI Helplines Awareness Day is an opportunity to shine the spotlight on the extensive range of support that’s available to us when we’re at our most vulnerable. It’s a chance to let people know that help is at hand, simply by picking up the phone, and to say thank you to those who take the calls, many of them volunteers.
“It’s also a time for us all to remember that it is good to talk, and that we should offer a listening ear to others whenever we can.”
The Helplines Network NI website provides a single point of access to NI Helplines telephone numbers and websites. For further information visit www.helplinesnetworkni.com