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Counselling is one of the ways we can connect with people before they reach crisis – O’Neill

8 December, 2016 - by Michelle O'Neill


One of the best ways of keeping people from reaching crisis point is to equip them with the skills to cope with life’s more difficult challenges such as relationship break up, bereavement, redundancy, exam pressure, and so forth.

That was the key message from Health Minister Michelle O’Neill as she visited the newly refurbished Lenadoon Community Counselling Service in west Belfast.

Established in 1998, Lenadoon Community Counselling provides counselling services to young people and adults aged from 14 years old. Counselling is by appointment and takes place after an initial assessment is carried out by a counsellor.

The Minister said:

“We must bear in mind why services such as those provided by Lenadoon Community Counselling are so vital.

“The fact is that there are too many tragic deaths by suicide in this area and in the north of Ireland as a whole.

“Many more people die by suicide here per year than die in road traffic accidents. Each loss leaves behind grieving families and friends. All sudden deaths are difficult to come to terms with, but bereavement through suicide is particularly traumatic.

“In the north of Ireland, the suicide rate in the 20 percent most deprived areas is three times higher than in the 20 percent least deprived areas. The association between suicide and deprivation is very clear. That is why it is so important to have the necessary services located in the areas where people are most in need of them.”

The Minister concluded: 

“We all have times in our lives when we feel like we can’t cope. You might think that things are not going to get better and that no-one else has ever experienced what you are going through. If you are feeling like this, you should know that you are not alone. Talking can help so speak to a friend, family member, your GP or a counsellor and get the help and advice you need.”

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