A major one day conference on 22 February will share good practice developed in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) area on promoting mental health and suicide prevention. The conference will include delegates from a number of community and voluntary organisations, local councils, the youth sector and statutory providers of mental health services across Northern Ireland.
The conference ‘Creating Sustainable Communities to Promote Mental Wellbeing and Reduce Suicides’, at Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey, has been organised by the Public Health Agency (PHA) Northern Area Promoting Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Steering Group, a multi-agency partnership overseeing the local implementation of Protect life – a shared vision: The Northern Ireland suicide prevention strategy and action plan 2006–2011 in the Northern HSCT area. Information and examples of good practice will be shared in relation to:
• building capacity and resilience, including raising awareness and education;
• early recognition and intervention;
• ensuring appropriate and accessible services and support;
• work during and after crises;
• building the evidence and information on what’s effective.
Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said; “I welcome this important conference being taken forward by the PHA. There is a lot of work going on across Northern Ireland to tackle the incidence and heartbreak of suicide in our society. Statutory agencies, voluntary and community organisations, local government and faith groups are all involved in this essential work. It is therefore vital that good practice is highlighted and shared amongst all of those striving to reduce suicide. Coherent and joined-up action across all sectors is undoubtedly the most effective approach.”
Explaining the significance of this conference, Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive, PHA, said: “Everyone in Northern Ireland is aware of the devastation to individuals, families and communities that suicide brings. Promoting mental health and suicide prevention is a priority, not only for the Public Health Agency and Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, but also for every local community across Northern Ireland. We are working in partnership with community, voluntary and statutory organisations and investing nearly £7million in this work, this year alone.
“With our community and voluntary colleagues, we are assisting people to seek help, by funding immediate services for those in distress – the Lifeline 24/7 helpline, on 0808 808 8000, offers counselling and services for those in crisis or concerned about others. We are also working with families, through the ‘Families Voices Forum’, a Northern Ireland wide group that is hearing the voices, sharing the interests and experiences and meeting the needs of those who have experienced the loss of a loved one through suicide.
“We know that good mental health is vital for a full and active life, the Public Health Agency will continue to work with others at local and government level to build resilience and positive mental health among our young people and in the wider community to reduce the loss of so many lives though suicide.”
If you or someone you know needs confidential support services and advice, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. This is a free helpline service available 24/7. You can also access the website: www.lifelinehelpline.info
Contact the PHA Press Office on: (028) 9031 1611.
Event: Creating Sustainable Communities to Promote Mental Wellbeing and Reduce Suicides
Venue: Mossley Mill, Carnmoney Road North, Newtownabbey BT36 5QA
Date: 22 February 2011
Notes to the editor
1. The Lifeline number is 0808 808 8000 and lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is a free helpline service. The website address is www.lifelinehelpline.info
2. Please abide by the Samaritans/Irish Association of Suicidology Media guidelines for reporting suicide and self-harm: www.samaritans.org/pdf/IrishMediaGuidelines2009.pdf
3. The Lifeline counselling service is delivered by the ‘Contact’ organisation in partnership with a Northern Ireland-wide network of community-based organisations, which provide face-to-face counselling, complementary therapies and befriending to clients referred from Lifeline.
4. The PHA Northern Area Promoting Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Steering Group is made up of representatives from the Public Health Agency, the Health and Social Care Board, local community networks, Family Voices, the North Eastern Education and Library Board, NHSCT, churches, council representatives, the Trauma Advisory Panel, Rainbow, Aware Defeat Depression, Lifeline/Contact Youth, and the Samaritans.
5. Protect life – a shared vision was launched in 2006: www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/phnisuicidepreventionstrategy_action_plan-3.pdf
6. Promoting mental health – strategy and action plan:
7. Other sources of support available include:
• Samaritans – Tel: 08457 909090 (24 hour support).
• ZEST – Tel: 028 7126 6999 (family outreach support for self-harm).
• CRUSE Bereavement Care helpline – Tel: 0844 477 9400.
• CRUSE Bereavement Care young person’s helpline – Tel: 0808 808 1677.
• Aware Defeat Depression – Tel: 0845 120 2961.
• NHSCT Bereaved by Suicide Support Project (over 18 years) – Tel: 028 2563 6600.
• Barnardo’s Children and Young People Bereaved by Suicide Support Project –
Tel: 07796 148549
• Young Men’s Personal Development Support Project – contact Paula Healy on
028 7035 1599 or Terry Hamill on 028 9442 8003.