The Protect Lifeline campaign has raised urgent concerns that Public Health Agency proposals will fragment and downgrade the Lifeline service.
The service model proposed by the Public Health Agency in the current public consultation, will radically alter the Lifeline service ethos, design and practice. If allowed to proceed, the PHA proposals will fragment and downgrade the Lifeline service, placing vulnerable lives at risk, a campaign spokesperson said.
Lifeline is Northern Ireland’s regional free-phone 24/7 suicide prevention crisis helpline and counselling service available for people of all ages. Lifeline is a unique crisis intervention service, benchmarked against leading international crisis lines since its inception in 2006.
Fergus Cumiskey, Managing Director of Contact, the counselling charity which is the current provider of the Lifeline service said: “Since the launch of the public consultation on the future shape of the Lifeline service by the Public Health Agency we have attended several public workshops, listening carefully to the public - including families bereaved by suicide, Lifeline service users, GPs, the community and voluntary sector and healthcare workers, many of whom support our concern for plans that point towards the fragmentation and downgrade of Lifeline.
“We encourage the public to engage with our campaign to Protect Lifeline by visiting www.ProtectLifelineNI.org to find out more and contact their local political representatives through the campaign website.”