Belfast Telegraph

Delayed suicide support service 'ready by end of year'

By Donna Deeny

Londonderry is expected to have a crisis intervention service fully operational when funding becomes available at the end of this year.

While this is later than initially expected, the service will offer immediate support in a "safe and calm place" to people struggling with suicidal emotions.

Derry City and Strabane District Council is preparing the tendering process for the new service in a bid to prevent further delays.

A taskforce made up of charity and public sector groups - including the council, Western Trust, PSNI, Divert and Hurt - was formed following a significant increase in the number of suicides in the city.

It looked at a number of options, including a detox centre, to reduce the number of people taking their own lives.

Councillor Elisha McCallion said the taskforce believed the crisis intervention model would work best.

"The tendering process is about to begin and, rather than wait until that has been completed, we will look for funding at the same time," she added.

"The business case has been prepared and the Health Minister is aware of it.

"I am quietly confident that funding will be in place and that the service will be available by around the end of this year with luck. Initially, we will operate the service as a pilot scheme, which will be monitored and assessed every three months and if necessary expanded.

"What we really want is the provision of a low-threshold and immediate service offering comfort and support in a safe and calm place to people who are in crisis.

"The focus will be on de-escalation and stabilisation, and then referral onwards."

Belfast Telegraph


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