PHA provides additional funding for suicide prevention in Belfast
The Public Health Agency (PHA) is providing almost £500,000 additional funding for suicide prevention and mental health promotion in the Belfast area.
£300,000 of this is being been invested directly through the community and voluntary sector in the city.
“The additional funding is to address demands in all areas of Belfast,” said Séamus Mullen, the PHA’s Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement in the Belfast and South Eastern area.
“However particular focus has been placed on disadvantaged areas where the risk of suicide is three times higher.”
Areas of additional service delivery will include counselling/ psychological therapy sessions, complementary therapy, mental health/ suicide prevention training, direct support to people bereaved by suicide, and support for people presenting in crisis.
Examples of how this will impact on the ground include:
- 3,620 one-to-one counselling/ psychological therapy sessions will be made available for almost 450 individuals currently on waiting lists for services.
- Almost 800 complementary therapy sessions will be provided for almost 150 individuals currently on waiting lists for services.
- Around 500 individuals will be able to participate in additional training and awareness programmes, including 24 Mood Matters courses, 18 Mood Matters Young People courses, three Mental Health First Aid courses, and one ASIST course.
Services will be provided by organisations within the community and voluntary sector which are contracted by the PHA to provide services under the Protect Life strategy.
- Throughout Belfast – New Life Counselling, AWARE and Conservation Volunteers will deliver a range of services, including additional counselling and training to address waiting lists.
- In south Belfast – Windsor Women’s Group will deliver additional sessions to reduce waiting lists for complementary therapies.
- In east Belfast – EBCDA/ Survivors of Suicide and East Belfast Community Counselling will deliver a range of services, including additional counselling and complementary therapies to address waiting lists.
- In north Belfast – Lighthouse and Ashton Community Trust (working in partnership with the PIPS charity) will deliver a range of services, including additional counselling and complementary therapies to address waiting lists.
- In west Belfast – Suicide Awareness Support Group, Falls Women’s Centre, Lenadoon Community Counselling and the Maureen Sheehan Centre will deliver a range of services, including additional counselling and complementary therapies to address waiting lists.
£200,000 is being provided to pilot crisis de-escalation and street triage services.
“These services will provide vital opportunities for individuals who are in social or emotional crisis to help them access support to de-escalate from that crisis, and help reduce the need to attend a hospital emergency department,” said Séamus Mullen.
“The services will focus on provision of support out of hours, particularly at weekends, and bring in expertise from various professionals, including from the community and voluntary sectors, community psychiatric nursing, psychiatry, paramedics, and policing colleagues.
“Additional funding has been secured from Belfast City Council’s Policing and Community Safety Partnership, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.”
The PHA is also investing additional resource in other geographical areas throughout Northern Ireland, details of which will be announced in due course.