The Belfast Mental Health Rights Group was one of the first groups PPR worked with, and have been together since 2006. Their members have personal or family experience of mental health issues and suicide/self harm. The group led a successful campaign for a ‘Card Before You Leave’ (CBYL) appointments system for mental health patients to ensure those in mental health crisis left Accident and Emergency Departments with a card  bearing the date of their next appointment. This change was put in place across Northern Ireland.

Since 2013, PPR’s work on mental health has grown across Northern Ireland, and we now also work with groups with direct experience of mental health services in Draperstown and Cookstown.

My Brother Could Have Been Saved

Julie Magee lost her brother to suicide in tragic circumstances on 29th January 2011. Jonny’s mental health had deteriorated rapidly over the last week of his life and in the early morning of Saturday 29th, he walked out of A&E at Belfast City Hospital after waiting for several hours to be sectioned. He took is own life later that day. Despite a terrible year for her and her family, Julie has fought and succeeded to ensure that families bereaved by suicide are treated with more respect by the health service.

Old Park Rally

At a rally in the Oldpark area of North Belfast last Monday night several hundred people heard Philip McTaggart a founder member of PIPS call for suicide prevention to be everybody’s business. The rally came in response to several suicides which took place in the North Belfast area since Easter – mostly of young men. Gerard McCartan spoke as an individual who has lost a son to suicide in 2005 but has not seen many of the changes in services promised by government after the Review in to his son’s death. Supporting people trying to get help when they most needed, through his work with PIPS and Belfast Mental Health Rights Group, he expressed frustration at seeing at first hand many of the same problems he and his wife Carol had encountered in getting services at the right time. He reiterated the main message of the rally which was that it was past the time for talking – it was time for action.

Stormont

The Belfast Mental Health Rights Group visited Stormont on the 3rd March to meet with members of the Northern Ireland Assembly Health Committee. The Committee is made up of MLAs and exists to scrutinise and assist the work of the Minister Minister for Health.

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