Belfast Telegraph

Charities struggle to give help because of low funds

By Victoria O'Hara

A woman whose sister took her own life has voiced concern about the level of investment given to voluntary groups helping to tackle suicide in Northern Ireland.



Betty Carlisle’s sister Jean (58) died through suicide almost five years ago.

She said the level of care for people who are suicidal and have mental health problems is “poor” and needs a cash injection.

Ms Carlisle said she was unable to speak about her sister’s death until recently.

“There were no signs she was depressed and had not said anything to the family about feeling that way.”

Ms Carlisle said there are many groups who work hard to offer help but they deserve better support.

“Charities and voluntary groups are relied upon so heavily by statutory agencies and yet the investment isn’t there,” she said.

Ms Carlisle, who is the manager of the Shankill Women's Centre, said the Government needs to recognise how vital |voluntary groups and charities are.

“I also think that those charities and groups that take the brunt of the work should be |invested in more.

“We are all on edge in terms with the cutbacks; we get pats on the back all the time for the work we do but any more cuts will have a devastating effect on the projects and work that people do.”

She added: “We have numerous women that come into our centre with mental health problems.

“We believe — and some of the women have stated — that we are keeping them alive.”

Jo Murphy, co-ordinator at Lighthouse, the suicide awareness organisation, said funding was a concern.

She added: “I think if we are going to make any dent in this sort of work there needs to be investment in early years. It is building up resilience and self-esteem.”

Samaritans offers 24-hour |support in complete confidence on (028) 906 64422.

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