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Lifeline Counselling Helpline Launched NI-Wide

A free counselling helpline service for people suffering from emotional distress or despair has been launched Northern Ireland-wide.

Lifeline has been set up to provide people in emotional crisis with immediate access to expert counselling support. The telephone helpline on 0808 808 8000 is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is staffed by specially trained counsellors who have experience in dealing with a wide range of emotional issues such as suicidal feelings, self-harm, abuse, trauma, depression and anxiety.

Callers to Lifeline are connected directly to a trained counsellor who will listen to their problems in confidence and seek to define the specific help and support they need. A call to Lifeline is designed to be the first step to expert advice and support and, if appropriate, will lead to an appointment for face-to-face counselling or other therapies in a caller’s local area within 7 days.

Commenting on the launch of the Lifeline counselling helpline service, Norma Patterson, Corporate Director, Contact who deliver the Lifeline service on behalf of the Department of Health said

“The establishment of Lifeline is a very important development in the fight against our alarming suicide, self-harm and emotional distress levels. This is the first time that a service of this kind has been available across Northern Ireland. It is open to people of all ages, all backgrounds and all personal circumstances. We would urge anyone with an emotional issue to seek help through the Helpline. Our role is to listen and to support, never to judge, and to work closely in partnership with the existing network of statutory and community counselling and support services to ensure people get the best packages of care.”

Lifeline is funded by the Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety for NI at an annual cost of £3.5million and delivered by Contact in partnership with a network of Community and Counselling organisations across Northern Ireland.

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