New benches with suicide support messaging and helpline numbers have been unveiled in parks across Mid and East Antrim.
The initiative is a result of a collaboration between the borough’s Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) and the Ballymena charity, Turning Point.
The council already promotes the Take 5 initiative which encourages people to look after their emotional wellbeing, and these benches will echo that by offering a place for people to take time out.
The bespoke benches will be placed in People’s Park Ballymena, Shaftesbury Park, Carrick and Dixon Park, Larne.
The Deputy Mayor and PCSP member, Cllr Cheryl Johnston, who was instrumental in delivering this initiative, said: “I am delighted to be in a position to support Turning Point in delivering this new and innovative initiative. I have worked closely with the staff at Turning Point over the past number of months and I have seen first-hand the service they provide to all our citizens.
“I’m passionate, as is council, in raising awareness around suicide prevention and I will continue to work tirelessly to raise awareness of this issue across the borough. There have been a number of deaths in the borough over the past year and I have seen the devastation this can cause to families and our communities as a whole. I hope these benches will help raise awareness and demonstrate that there is help and support for all.”
Trudi Hall, from Turning Point, said: “Suicide within the Northern Trust still remains a major public health issue, which has a huge lasting impact on those loved ones left behind and to those in the community.
“Turning Point NI would like to thank both Mid and East Antrim PSCP, Deputy Mayor Cheryl Johnston and council for supporting us with this initiative and helping us raise awareness of our vital crisis intervention services throughout the borough. We would encourage anyone who feels they need help or just to chat to contact us. We can help offer support services over the phone or face to face.”
If you need help or support Turning Point NI can be contacted at 1 Mill Street, Ballymena, or on 079 3525 5502.