First Minister Paul Givan has praised the work of mental health charity PIPS Suicide Prevention Ireland.
The First Minister visited the PIPS offices on the Antrim Road in Belfast to speak to staff, and see how the facilities have been improved with funding from the Executive’s Social Investment Fund programme, delivered by the Executive Office.
PIPS is a charity which helps individuals, families and organisations who have been affected by suicide or mental unwellness.
The First Minister said: “Mental health issues can impact any one of us, at any time of our lives. It has touched many lives and, by extension, many families and many communities.
“This is a complex issue. There is an onus on all of us, right across society, to take positive steps to address the challenge of mental ill health and suicide.
“Organisations such as PIPS are very much on the front line of this effort. They deliver suicide prevention and bereavement support services, counselling and therapies across Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland. This is a vital service for the whole community.”
The charity received funding of £785,000 from the Executive Office through the Social Investment Fund (SIF). It was used to improve the facilities, which enhanced and extended the building to increase capacity. Additions include a dedicated family room, therapy room and counselling suites.
The First Minister added: “I was pleased to have this opportunity today to meet PIPS staff and thank them for their outstanding work. I was also interested to hear how they – like so many organisations – have adapted to the challenges presented by the pandemic.”
PIPS executive director Renee Quinn said: “PIPS has an open door policy, and people are encouraged to call in. This investment is welcome, because it allowed us to create not only a more accessible building, but also a calmer, better environment in which to deliver our services.
“More than being an investment in facilities, this is an investment in people, and it is already having a positive impact on those in the community.”