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Rita’s petition on suicide help centre on target

Rita Cassidy 04

A PETITION addressing the need for a 24/7 drop in centre has reached almost 1,500 signatures, and Enniskillen woman Rita Cassidy is now pursuing Trevor Millar, Director of Adult Mental Health and Disability Services, Western Health and Social Care.
Rita began the petition in December as she was concerned about the high rates of sucide in Fermanagh, and believed a drop in centre would provide somewhere local and reliable for people in need to attend. The petition was set up in December, but Rita did not expect to receive the support she has.
“It started very slow at the start, and I was worried that there was still such a stigma attached to the issue that people are not willing to sign the petition. Every evening there is someone contacting me, and I have received great feedback. I am hoping to get in contact with Trevor Millar this week, and hopefully set up a meeting.”
In March 2016, the Herald reported “that the suicide rate in Fermanagh could be as high as four times the national average.” Rita is confident that a drop in centre would lower the demand in A&E and cut waiting times for people needing to talk in a safe environment.
“The centre would offer comfort for families who are suffering from the aftermath of a suicide or suicide attempt, to me that is a key point. In my experience, there was very little support for the families, to talk about how we felt.
“The centre would also have no waiting list to talk to someone, as we would provide a warm welcoming atmosphere, especially at night. Prompt referral would also be a major issue within the service.”
Addressing the issue of funding for the service, Rita has explained her vision for how the centre would run.
“We would have lower overheads as the service would be run by mostly volunteers with some medical backup. The health system would not have to pay for a full staff. Admissions cost a lot more than our service would. All I am asking for is a trial period, just to try it out and see if it would work,” Rita added.

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