Council ‘hopeful’ over Crisis Service funding

Campaigners back in 2015 creating a 'Chain Along The Foyle' from the Peace Bridge to Craigavon Bridge to highlight the lack of service for people with depression/in crisis in the north-west. DER1815MC154
Campaigners back in 2015 creating a 'Chain Along The Foyle' from the Peace Bridge to Craigavon Bridge to highlight the lack of service for people with depression/in crisis in the north-west. DER1815MC154

Derry and Strabane District Council have said it is ‘hopeful’ that the outstanding £60,000 needed to sustain a new pilot Crisis Intervention Service will be secured.

The council has confirmed to the ‘Journal’ that the service, expected for people who are facing a mental health crisis, including those at risk of suicide and self-harm, is expected to cost £130,000 to run in its initial year, but currently the amount of funding pledged is £70,000.

Of this, the council has allocated £40,000, while Derry charity Foyle Search and Rescue has also come in behind the extended 12-months pilot with £20,000. The Western Trust, meanwhile, has offered £10,000.

The council has devised the new pilot service plan following a massive grass roots campaign led by local families, organisations and activists demanding intervention services and a Detox Centre, following a succession of tragedies.

The service is expected to reduce pressure on Accident & Emergency and was designed following multi-agency discussions to help “assist in reducing the incidence of self-harm and suicide”.

A spokesperson for the council confirmed that although an invitation to tender for the ‘low threshold responsive community based crisis intervention service’ for a six-month period ran earlier this year, no bids were received.

“Council has continued to liaise with a range of stakeholders to ensure the most effective service possible can be delivered,” she said. “The tender specification, revised to extend the pilot to 12 months subject to securing additional funding, has just been released. The pilot service will be subject to monitoring and evaluation and the outcome of this may result in a further extension of the service. “

The spokesperson confirmed that discussions are ongoing with a number of local agencies with a view to securing the necessary funding.

She said: “It is estimated that the delivery of this 12-month service will cost in the region of £130,000.

“To date council has pledged £40,000 towards the service, with an additional £20,000 from Foyle Search and Rescue and £10,000 from the Western Health and Social Care Trust. The Public Health Agency and Ulster University have also lent their support for the pilot by providing an evaluation of the service.

“Council is hopeful that it can secure the backing of other healthcare providers and emergency response organisations for this much needed support service, which has been identified as a key priority for this council area.”

A report brought before local councillors previously on the plans stated that the pilot service “will respond to individuals observed to be in distress and potentially vulnerable, and who would in all likelihood come to significant harm through self-harm and suicidal behaviour.”

“It is proposed that the service should provide a timely, non-clinical community response to individuals experiencing social, emotional or situational crisis over the weekend period,” the report added.