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.

World Mental Health Day, observed on the 10th October every year, presents an opportune moment to consider the United Nations’ current assessment of the core challenges and opportunities for advancing the realisation of the right to mental health for everyone in Northern Ireland and across the globe.

The increased vulnerability of those bereaved by suicide to mental health illness is well known.

The Executive’s own suicide prevention strategy states that families and friends bereaved by suicide are at a greater risk of depression and future suicidal behaviour, requiring specific supportive measures and targeted treatment to cope with their loss.

Members of the Mental Health Rights Network dodged the summer downpours to attend a talk by the Coroner, Mr. Joe McCrisken, on the Dangers of Prescription Drugs. The talk was held in St. Mary’s College,  Belfast on Friday 11 August 2017 as part of the West Belfast ‘Féile’ festival.

People who are close to someone, who has taken their own life, can be 3 times more at risk of attempting suicide. Recognising this, our government puts access to support for those bereaved by suicide as a core component of their suicide prevention strategy.

The campaign by the Square Cut Punt Crew to have the Divis/Westlink Bridge railings heightened as a suicide prevention measure has advanced over recent months. 

“we all have the same issues but if we are one big voice shouting it will get heard a lot quicker”  Karen McGuigan, STEPS

L-R Colleen & Annie from Reaching Out Support Group with Claire McKeown Equality Commission NI

Annie and Colleen from the Reaching Out Action Support Group in conversation with PPR

(Photograph L-R Colleen & Annie from Reaching Out Support Group with Claire McKeown Equality Commission NI)

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Suicide rates in disadvantaged areas of Northern Ireland are three times higher than the regional average. Areas such as the Lower Falls district in Belfast have been disproportinately affected. Following yet another tragic death of a young man from the Divis Street bridge, a local self help group, the Square Cut Punt Crew, decided to campaign to get the bridge heightened.  The group felt that heightening the bridge would act as a key preventative measure against suicide and was both concrete and achievable. This article explains how in just a few months they have built an active campaign and how they have come up witht their own innovative way of measuring change - in the form of a measuring stick! 

GPs are most often the first point of contact for people with mental health problems, but too often they are not working as they should. The Mental Health Rights Campaign is starting a new campaign to address this.

Belfast Mental Health Rights Group celebrates 10 years campaigning success Still blazing the campaign trail to improve mental health services 10 years after their first meeting in October 2006, members of BMHRG are still passionate and determined in their efforts to get change. It started with one meeting 10 years ago. Stephanie Green Development Worker with PPR who has been working with the group since its inception tells the story

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