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Local woman’s crusade for better mental health services

A LOCAL woman who was frustrated by the lack of coordination between local mental health services has taken the matter into her own hands and created a comprehensive directory of support available in the local area.

Gail Turner from Letterbreen is hoping the county’s services can work more closely together and become an example of excellence in the way it approaches mental health in the community and hopes her directory will be a first step in doing so.

Gail was inspired to create her directory, which went live online this week which also happens to be Mental Health Awareness Week, after seeking help for a loved one who was ill. While she was full of praise for those who provide support in the area, what struck her were the long delays in accessing services, and the fact the various services in the local support system was so uncoordinated.

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“There is a lot of help but no one has a clue what anyone else is doing,” she said, adding with a small population in the area there was no reason services could not link up. “Surely there must be a way we can manage to find a system that copes with such a small number of people.”

“I’m trying to create an immediate platform for people to look at and choose someone to ring to talk to, and then also see there is a network available and take away the confusion,” she said, contrasting the immediate treatment of a broken leg to the nine-month waiting lists for mental health illnesses during which some patients sadly die.

With regard to the lockdown, Gail said it was important to remember mental illness can also kill too.

“I understand Covid is a nightmare and it’s a very, very serious illness but so is mental health,” she said.

To access the directory visit www.helpformentalhealth.co.uk

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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