Suicide prevention group up and running in Larne
A NEW charity group to help people affected by suicide and self-harm has been officially set up in Larne Borough.
The town now has its own PIPS (Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide) group. Members received their charity number last week and presented a petition to Larne Council to see if the authority can help the start-up group in any way.
The aim of the Larne group is to set up a dedicated drop-in centre, provide regular access to counselling and related services. Members hope with support from the local community and statutory agencies a permanent centre will become a reality.
Committee members met Larne Mayor Councillor Bobby McKee last week to seek support for their bid.
PIPS chairwoman Carlee Letson described the meeting as supportive and helpful. "They are going to give us advice on how to go out into the community and advise us on how to get premises. It went very well and the mayor was very supportive. They were fantastic with us."
Carlee says the group plan to hold meetings with community groups in Larne and rural areas in the coming months. She described the response from people in the borough as "immense." She said: "We are going to seek a building and drop-in centre to help people who have been affected. Hundreds of people have signed the petition. The response in this town has been immense. People are stopping me in the street. People want to talk."
Campaigners in Larne have gathered over 1,300 signatures since February from people in the town and in rural areas, Carlee said. Community groups, support groups and other organisations have all expressed support for the PIPS project, she said. She added there has been a lot of interest from rural areas about the kinds of services offered by PIPS.
PIPS aims to increase awareness of suicide prevention, to help young people contemplating suicide or self-harm, to create greater awareness of services and to give support to families who have lost a loved one.
The Larne committee members are Carlee Letson, Lorraine Lynn, secretary, Peter McAllister, treasurer, and committee members Louise Marsden, Ashley Caples and Martella Smyth. Trustees of the group are Pastor Gordon Graham, actress Olivia Nash and Steven Liddle.
The main PIPS services are run from Duncairn Gardens in Belfast and arrangements can be made for anyone affected by suicide or self-harm to access counselling there - until permanent Larne services are established.
To contact PIPS in Belfast you can call 028 9075 5070. A mobile number for anyone in the Larne area to contact is now active. You can call 075 3079 7716 between 9.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Saturday. Outside these hours the service will automatically transfer callers to a 24-hour government helpline - Lifeline. Alternatively the helpline can be contacted directly by dialling 0808 808 8000.
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Weather for Larne
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North
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