Mayor attends launch of expanded suicide prevention service that made 1,500 interventions in past year

Leading mental health charity Extern has welcomed the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council to the launch of a newly-expanded suicide and mental health project for the local area.

Alderman Graham Warke joined guests for a special ‘Meet the Team’ event for the Community Crisis Intervention Service (CCIS) at its base in the Waterside area of the city.

The event took place as part of a series of activities being organised by Extern to mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, which runs until this Sunday, May 15.

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Located within Spencer House, on Spencer Road, and close to Craigavon bridge, the CCIS project offers a non-clinical, community response to individuals experiencing social, emotional or situational crisis, and who may be at risk of suicidal behaviour.

Mayor of Derry & Strabane, Alderman Graham Warke with (left) Dr Gavin Adams, Extern Director of Business Development, and Sarah Griffin, Manager of the CCIS project

The service operates every weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, and over the past year alone, has recorded over 1,500 interventions with people who are at risk.

Alderman Warke paid tribute to the work of the project, saying: “Sadly, we know only too well the dreadful toll which suicide and poor mental health has taken on our city and the wider area. That is why projects such as CCIS are so important for the role they play in helping to support people who may be at their most vulnerable.

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“I was delighted to be able to meet the dedicated team of professionals who are running this service and who are making such a difference to the lives of people who need support. I look forward to seeing the project continue to grow and flourish in the years to come.”

Launched as a pilot project in January 2019, the CCIS project was recently awarded a £500k funding package from the Department of Health, to enable it to continue its core work across weekends, as well as to develop an expanded programme of wraparound care for individuals engaged with the service.

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Mayor of Derry & Strabane, Alderman Graham Warke with Dr Gavin Adams, Extern Director of Business Development

This includes providing ‘step down’ into accessible counselling and complementary therapy services in the local community, as well as promoting good mental health throughout the region.

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Danny McQuillan, CEO of Extern, said: “The Community Crisis Intervention Service (CCIS) is playing a vital role in helping to tackle the issue of suicide and self-harm in Derry-Londonderry and Strabane.

“The investment of longer-term funding means we have been able to significantly develop our services for those who need them the most. By offering wraparound care for those we engage with we can ensure that they are given even more support in managing their mental health and wellbeing. Not only is this better for those who use CCIS, it can also play an important role in easing the pressure on other acute services within the Derry and Strabane area.”

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Mr McQuillan added: “This success would not have been possible without the support of our funders and partners, political representatives and the media, as well as the local community in Derry-Londonderry, including those working in other life-saving organisations across the wider area. We were therefore delighted to see so many of them attending this special ‘open day’ event for Mental Health Awareness Week, as it enables us to strengthen those professional relationships which are so vital to our work.”

For details on Extern’s range of mental health and wellbeing services, visit www.extern.org, or tel: 028 9084 0555.

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The Community Crisis Intervention Service (CCIS) can be contacted on, tel: 028 7126 2300.

Anyone in distress in NI can contact Lifeline 24/7 helpline can be contacted for free on 0808 808 8000 in confidence; The Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 on 02871 265511 or Freephone 116 123 in confidence; Children can contact Childline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0800 1111 for any issue or by visiting www.childline.org.uk in confidence.

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Anyone in distress in RoI can contact Pieta House free on 1800 247 247 or text HELP to 51444; TEXT Crisis Textline Ireland on 50808 - a free 24/7 text service; Ring Samaritans 24/7 on freephone number 116-123,