Protecting Life

Discussing the Protect Life Service are Colin Loughran, Service Manager at AMH MensSana; Nuala Quinn, Protect Life Coordinator at the SHSCT; Seamus McCabe, Protect Life Community Development Worker for the Southern Area; and Deirdre McNamee, Health & Social Well-Being Improvement Senior Officer at the PHA.

AMH MensSana and PIPS Newry & Mourne provide the Protect Life Service, helping individuals and community groups with suicide and self-harm prevention in Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon, Dungannon and South Tyrone, and Newry and Mourne.

Colin Loughran, Service Manager of AMH MensSana, explains:

“Both organisations are keen to work in partnership with individuals and community groups and look forward to delivering and developing helpful supports appropriate to their needs. Staff are happy to talk to individuals and community groups about the training they may require and ensuring that appropriate support is provided.”

The Protect Life Resource Service will also have a signposting service, providing individuals and community groups with a valuable point of contact and sources of support regarding suicide and self harm prevention and mental health. The Service is funded by the Public Health Agency.

Mr Loughran is also Chair of the Southern Area Protect Life/Mental Health Promotion Community and Voluntary Forum, says that suicide presents a complex and deeply concerning challenge for our society and is a challenge that everyone must respond to comprehensively and collectively.

 “It is recognised that no single government department can work in isolation to tackle suicide. The Protect Life Group has developed a Community Response Plan that aims to support communities who have become vulnerable to suicide. Community Response has drawn people from Health and Social Care, Education, PSNI, District Councils and Community and Voluntary organisations who are committed to working together in the event of such a response being needed. In August this year, 100 people from a range of backgrounds attended a series of workshops across the Southern area highlighting the Community Response Plan.”

Nuala Quinn, Protect Life Coordinator at the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, adds:

“The Protect Life Group recognises that mental health is central to all health and wellbeing and, like our physical health, is a resource we need to promote and protect. Everyone has mental health needs whether or not they have a diagnosis of a mental health problem. Poor mental health can impact on our capacity to manage, to communicate and form and sustain relationships. It can also affect our capacity to deal with change and with major life transitions. The theme of this year’s World Mental health Day on 10 October is ‘Depression: A Global Crisis’ and in the Southern Trust we have a number of projects in place to help adults and young people with depression and other mental illnesses.”

For further information on the Protect Life Resource Service in Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon, Dungannon and Newry and Mourne, contact AMH MensSana on 028 3839 2314 or PIPS Newry and Mourne on 028 3026 6195.

The provision of mental health services through a stepped care model, with most services being provided in the community by voluntary and community sector partners and community mental health teams is a key theme of the Transforming Your Care report.

In addition to the services provided by AMH MensSana and PIPS Newry & Mourne, Northern Ireland’s confidential 24 hour crisis helpline is Lifeline and it is for people of all ages, and their families, to use when experiencing distress or despair. Lifeline’s expert counsellors offer immediate support, providing free, local follow-up services within seven days. The Lifeline number is 0808 808 8000 and more information is available at www.lifelinehelpline.info


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