Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has said cuts to counselling service Lifeline will lead to a fragmentation of services for people at risk of suicide.
The chair of the Assembly’s health committee said;
“We have met Lifeline to discuss their concerns about the proposed changes to the service and the impact it could have on vulnerable people.
“These changes will fragment the service Lifeline offers and shift its focus to high risk callers which would have a negative knock-on effect on callers who are regarded as being at low or moderate risk.
“This organisation provides an excellent service, including follow up contacts for a range of callers and has literally saved the lives of many people.
“Research has shown that the majority of people who take their own lives have experienced mental health difficulties so the heath service should be investing in services instead of cutting them.
“I will be meeting the Public Health Agency next week to discuss this and other concerns around addiction and substance misuse.
“In order to improve all these services and deliver a first class health system that people deserve we need to see the health minister back at his desk every day, working to tackle these problems.” Ends/Críoch