When the news broke that FASA was in immediate danger of closure people were shocked, upset but most of all angry. For the people who use this service and services like FASA it means LIFE or DEATH, I know this myself as I have needed the support of FASA before which most probably saved my life including other services like Light House and PIPS.
Many surveys and study’s have been done in recent years pointing to the devastating impact the cuts to mental health services will have in our communities right across the North of Ireland. Concerns have been frequently aired by Healthcare professionals pointing to a bleak future if cuts to our frontline services continue.
In 2015 a study carried out by Queens University for Action Mental Health(AMH) showed that services were already spread too thinly across the board, also showing that patients were not being treated as ‘people’ but rather as problems to be solved. Between 2008 and 2014 spending on Mental Health services was significantly lower than what was previously proposed.
Because services are spread so thinly across the board with less funding it’s of no surprise that the mental health crises has gotten worse and will continue to do so if cuts proposed are allowed to go ahead. Knowing this, politicians need to step up and fight for what is left of our services, FASA being one of those services. AMH chief executive David Babington said that,
“Financial cutbacks are beginning to have an adverse impact on services across Northern Ireland. We desperately need a functioning government to work for mental health and help organisations like us provide services for people across the region.
“Research from as far back as 2010 found that we spend less than half of England’s per capita spend on supporting people with mental health problems and learning disabilities.
“When we look at this in the context of our research (which shows further reduced spending since 2009), the picture is pretty bleak.
“This is all compounded by austerity measures in health and welfare, at a time when the economic crisis is likely to negatively affect mental health in the form of insecurity, anxiety and depression.”
For years myself and others around me have suffered long-term mental health problems, with the implementing of cuts came an exacerbation of mental health problems. Nearly all of us know or know of someone who have battled mental health problems but were not able to overcome them which have lead to suicide, this has become common within our communities and with the closure of FASA I fear that there may be deaths because of how essential the service was to those that used it.
We hope for the best in the future, we know that there are still many services their for people which do really amazing work for those that need it, but FASA had many service users which have now been left to go and find other such services which will help them, but for someone with bad depression and anxiety it’s not so easy.
Numbers and wesbites for Mental Health charities will be provided below. If you feel as tho you may need some help and advice speak to your family or friends and if you can’t do that then please contact the free hotline for LifeLine, SAMARITANS or PIPS. Always let your GP know if you are having feelings of depression or feel you need some help in regards to your mental health.
0845 120 2961
Suicide Awarness & Support Group
0808 808 8000