Belfast Telegraph

Eden Village provides vital support for those in crisis

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

Eden Village Recovery Centre will offer community-driven frontline action, delivering practical support to individuals in crisis and their families.

That was the message from Health Minister, Edwin Poots, as he officially opened a new recovery centre in Ballywalter. Run by Forum for Alcohol and Substance Abuse (FASA), the centre operates a recovery model for people who have experienced drug and alcohol misuse or mental health issues.

Officially opening Eden Village, Minister Poots said: “There are clear links between substance misuse, poor mental health, suicide and self harm - all of which, unfortunately, are too prevalent in our society.

“Tackling alcohol and drug misuse continues to be one of my key priorities as Health Minister. These deeply embedded problems will take time to put right. Statutory services clearly have an important role, but equally encouraging is the way that community groups like FASA continue to rise to this particular challenge. Integrated practice and collaborative working across sectors is undoubtedly the way forward.”

Aimed at prevention, early intervention and ongoing support, the centre offers complementary therapies and counselling, as well as other facilities such as bookshop, ‘upcycling’ furniture shop, employability programmes and ‘one-stop-shop’ youth drop-in service. Making the most of its rural Ballywalter location, there are also opportunities for outdoor recreational and physical activity such as horticulture and gardening.

The Minister continued: “I am pleased to have had the opportunity to tour the site and meet with staff, volunteers and service users. This is an excellent recovery centre and I am greatly impressed by the range of services and facilities on offer here. The mental health benefits of outdoor work are widely recognised and can include improved mental health through a sense of purpose and achievement; the opportunity to connect with others; to acquire new skills and connect with nature.

“FASA’s Eden Village is an exciting, unique development that promotes recovery and enables its service users to improve both their physical and mental health and wellbeing. In addition, it is hoped that it will help facilitate early intervention to prevent more people becoming suicidal and needing crisis response”.

The Minister concluded: “My Department will shortly be launching ‘Making Lives Better’ – a public health framework which aims to reduce health inequalities and achieve better health and wellbeing for everyone in Northern Ireland.”

Notes to editors:

1. Research has shown that alcohol misuse costs Northern Ireland up to £900million every year and almost £250million of these costs are borne by the Health and Social Care (HSC) Sector. Alcohol accounts for over 60% of presentations at hospital Accident and Emergency units.

2. On an annual basis, the Public Health Agency (PHA) has contracts with FASA totalling £565,819, provided through the DHSSPS ‘Protect Life’ strategy and through the New Strategic Direction for Drugs and Alcohol.

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