Yesterday was a wonderful day for the Lorna Byrne Children’s Foundation as the new lifesaving counselling service with PIPS Suicide Prevention Ireland was officially launched with the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Kate Nicholls.
The aim of the project is to help children who self-harm, are suffering from suicidal ideation, anxiety or depression to cope with emotional distress and learn self-care strategies.
People in Northern Ireland experience 20-25% higher levels of mental health illness compared to the rest of the UK and have the highest rate of suicide in the UK.
This new Child and Youth counselling service will offer young people between the ages of 4 -18, from across Northern Ireland confidential advice and support on a range of emotional issues, including anxiety, bullying, relationships, emotional health, self-harm, eating disorders, substance misuse, depression, trauma, anger, stress grief, or abuse. Uniquely, despite the demand, there is no need for a GP or hospital referral letter.
Activities are provided through a 12-week programme of talking therapies, art therapy and complementary therapies which are child centered and ultimately aimed at preventing the loss of young people’s lives.
This new service will complement the existing services that PIPS Charity provides and will provide additional counselling, advice and signposting for this vulnerable age group.
Speaking about the new service, Renée Quinn, Executive Director of PIPS said:
“We have seen an increase in children using our service this year and we have continued to provide support to them even during lockdown. We are so grateful to the Lorna Byrne Children’s Foundation for this support which allows us to be here for children who may feel vulnerable, are at risk of suicidal behaviours, or in need of emotional support. Parents or individuals can refer their child or themselves for our services. We are here to help young people heal and grow into their fullest potential.”
Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Kate Nicholl said:
“I’d like to thank the Lorna Byrne Children’s Foundation for making this new specialist counselling service for children and young people at risk of suicide possible – and of course PIPS Suicide Prevention for their tireless work and support. Too many families across our city have been devastated by the tragedy of suicide. We owe it to our young people and their families to be there for them, to listen, to help them work through the challenges that life has thrown at them and achieve greater emotional wellbeing.”
Lorna Byrne, whose foundation supports vulnerable children around the world said:
“I have met so many people whose lives have been devastated by suicide and it is heart breaking. At every single one of my events in Northern Ireland over the last number of years the topic of suicide has been raised by family members, community leaders and even by people contemplating taking their own life. I hope for a day when no one’s life is touched by suicide, but until that time comes, we need essential services like PIPS Suicide Prevention Ireland. I am delighted to be able to support such life-saving work with PIPS and our first project in Northern Ireland. I know this will help so many children when they need it most”.
Get in contact:
PIPS Charity offers a ‘no appointment needed’ service to ensure there is always someone to contact for a chat when a person might feel vulnerable, at risk of suicidal behaviours, or is simply in need of assistance or guidance, just walk in.
PIPS Child and Youth counsellors are available between 9am – 9pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 6pm Saturday and Sundays, (including school holidays and excluding bank holidays)
Telephone 028 9080 5850 or Freephone 0800 088 6042 or call into 279 Antrim Road, Belfast.
To support the work of the foundation see www.foundation.lornabyrne.com/donate
For more information on the Lorna Byrne Children’s Foundation see www.foundation.lornabyrne.com