‘Break the silence, reach for help’

‘Break the silence, reach for help’

The Public Health Agency (PHA) and the five Northern Ireland Drug and Alcohol Coordination Teams (NIDACTS) are urging anyone who is affected by a loved one’s drinking and/or drug misuse to get help from the family support services that are available here.

‘Break the silence, reach for help’ is an initiative that highlights the support that is available for family members who are affected by a loved one’s drinking and/or drug misuse and encourages them to get help in their own right. Eight short films have been developed for social media as part of the programme to promote help-seeking.

Kelly Gilliland, Senior Health Improvement Manager at the PHA, said: “Alcohol and drug misuse is a common issue and sadly causes suffering and ill-health to many individuals, families and communities in Northern Ireland.

“The impact of living with a loved one misusing alcohol and/or other drugs can be devastating. Too often family members are caught between caring for the person with the alcohol or drug problem and struggling to cope.

“The purpose of these short story clips is to highlight that there are a number of services in place across the region which can offer you information, advice and/or one-to-one support to help you cope and understand better how you are being impacted, and provide information on what you can do in order to keep yourself well and your own mental health in check. These services are available to you regardless of whether or not your loved one is receiving help for his or her alcohol and/or drug problem.

“If you are affected by someone else’s drinking and/or drug misuse we are encouraging you to ‘break the silence and reach for help’, and to do so as early as possible in order to reduce the impact on your own health and wellbeing.”

Ed Sipler, Health Development Specialist with the South Eastern Trust, part of the Alcohol and You Partnership which is collaborating on this project, said: “One of the constant themes reported by family members impacted by a loved one's alcohol or drug misuse is that feeling of chronic anxiety and worry. Every situation is unique and there is no rule book that says how anyone should cope. However, the services being highlighted under this initiative are able to provide a lifeline to family members by giving them practical information, advice and support in relation to how they can look after their own wellbeing throughout this difficult period.

“Our message to family members is clear and simple: your deserve help in your own right and there is support for you.”

To view the videos visit www.drugsandalcoholni.info/familysupport This dedicated webpage also includes more detailed information on the family support services available in your Health and Social Care Trust area. You can also find information on, and contact details for, additional services that offer a wide range of family support by visiting the ‘Services Near You’ section.

If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000.The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also access the Lifeline website at www.lifelinehelpline.info