PIPS hosting mental health support event

PIPS hosting mental health support event

9 January 2019

A COMMUNITY event inviting people to find out what local support services are available for anyone in distress or despair is being held in Downpatrick tomorrow evening.

Suicide prevention charity PIPS Downpatrick is hosting its ‘Safe Place’ event from 6.30pm in the Ballymote Centre on the Killough Road. 

Volunteer and organiser Brenda McAteer said: “We have a great team of people coming together along with a few young men who have been supported by PIPS Downpatrick who are willing to tell their stories of recovery.”

She urged anyone, particularly people with a family member who may not be coping well at the moment, to come along.

“It’s really about pulling together all the services in Downpatrick, which perhaps people don’t know about, that are there to help. We want to let everyone know, particularly the young people, what is available for them.

“We want to help them understand that the grief they are going through is very significant,” she said.

She added that it was normal for people, who have lost someone through suicide, to need some support.

“Suicide survivors, the people left behind, go through a grief unlike any other bereavement. It’s very different and more intense and very complicated,” she said.

“It also lasts a lot longer and that’s because of the shock of the unexpected death as your fundamental beliefs are challenged.”

Brenda hopes that by meeting with young people tomorrow night, they will also get support on how to cope with their grief and how best to remember their friend, Aaron Laverty, who died on December 28.

She added: “We also hope that the event will help give a voice to the young people of Downpatrick and help find out what their needs are.”

Ms McAteer said that the charity, which mans a helpline from 10am to 4pm seven days a week, had been working hard to meet the local need for support.

‘We have had a significant number of calls this week and over the weekend. These are calls from people who are quite distressed,” she said.

“The level of demand wouldn’t be abnormal for this time of the year.”

At Monday night’s meeting of Newry, Mourne and Down Council, Downpatrick councillor Gareth Sharvin said he welcomed the event.

“It is important people out there are aware that there is support and sessions are being held by organisations for those who do need help,” he added.

• Anyone in distress or despair can ring PIPS Downpatrick on 07845 564134 or message through its Facebook page, or contact the emergency NI helpline Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 or the Samaritans free on 116123.