restoring wellbeing through contact

West Tyrone MLA’s support Lifeline Suicide Prevention Helpline

West Tyrone MLAs have joined with NI Assembly colleagues to demonstrate solidarity with Lifeline, the 24/7 crisis counselling provision for people in distress or despair.

Funded by the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety, Lifeline provides crisis support and immediate access to expert counselling, as a core aspect of the Assembly’s Protect Life suicide prevention strategy for Northern Ireland. Lifeline is available  on 0808 808 8000, day and night, staffed by specially trained counsellors experienced in dealing with a wide range of emotional distress, including   suicidal feelings, self-harm, abuse, trauma, depression and anxiety.

Explaining the reasons why he set up Lifeline, Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said:

“The heartbreak of suicide affects far too many families in Northern Ireland leaving them struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one.  Suicide is an extremely complex issue that requires a co-ordinated response from all sections of society.  I established Lifeline to be at the forefront of this response, working in partnership with statutory services and local community-based suicide prevention groups.  Lifeline is there for anyone who needs support.  I urge those who are in despair, or who is concerned about a family member or friend, to make contact with Lifeline.”

Welcoming NI Assembly support, Norma Patterson, Corporate Director, Contact Counselling, tasked with Lifeline delivery on behalf of the Department of Health said:

“Lifeline works around the clock supporting people in distress and we very much welcome MLA support.  Getting through the day can be a difficult task for many people. Lifeline is available to the entire NI population and we urge you to call if concerned for someone close or when in distress yourself. Remember, you do not have to be alone in a crisis.  Lifeline’s role is to carefully assess, support and refer crisis callers, working closely with statutory and community crisis response providers to ensure appropriate support services are made available immediately.” said Norma Patterson.

Adding their support, the MLA for West Tyrone said:

“We are all too aware that for many people emotional stress and feelings of despair can be overwhelming. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. We share responsibility to ensure people in need are encouraged to seek support through Lifeline. Lifeline counsellors are available around the clock providing  help and support for those who need it most and I would encourage anyone facing a crisis or despair not to hesitate, and contact Lifeline today, on 0808 808 8000.”

Lifeline is funded by the DHSSPS and delivered by Contact in partnership with a network of wraparound Community Counselling and Complimentary Therapy providers across Northern Ireland.

Notes for Editors:

  • The Lifeline number is 0808 808 9635 and lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Calls are free from all landlines and mobile phones. The website address is:
  • The Lifeline counselling service is delivered by Contact in partnership with a Northern Ireland-wide network of community based wraparound services providing face-to-face counselling, complementary therapies and befriending to Lifeline referrals.
  • Lifeline is costs over £3.5m per year, funded by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), an integral part of the NI Assembly’s Protect Life suicide prevention strategy for Northern Ireland.
  • Press enquiries to Ross Williamson or Jenny Johnston, Inform Communications on 028 9023 3550 or 0773469841

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