Said the East Derry MLA: “The Community Crisis Intervention Service in Derry is absolutely critical and serves people across the North West.
“It has become a key part of mental health provision in the local area, providing crisis response to those experiencing emotional distress over the weekend period.
“It is a lifeline for many people across County Derry.
“Given the publication of the Mental Health Action Plan by the Minister for Health last week, it is highly unusual that CCIS was recently refused £215,000 in funding, the amount required to sustain the service.
“I wrote to the Minister for Health to seek clarity and he confirmed to me that there was no additional funding available, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is why a cross departmental approach is essential and the Minister for Communities must step in.
“We are all aware of the financial challenges our health and public services face, but it is difficult to think of a better use of funding that supporting people experiencing severe emotional stress and preventing suicide.
“It is well known that the suicide rates here in the North are the highest in Britain and Ireland, and indeed some of the highest rates in Europe.
“It is unconscionable that Executive Ministers would allow this critical service to go under.
“The Minister for Health must include CCIS as part of the Protect Life 2 Strategy, which should be given the necessary resources it needs to support people.
“The Executive has committed to prioritising tackling our mental health crisis and that is very welcome. However, people experiencing emotional distress do not need platitudes.
“They need services to support them and keep them safe.
“The Minister for Communities can demonstrate her commitment by working on a cross-Departmental basis to fund this vital service.
“I urge the Minister for Communities to work with the Minister for Health and Minister for Finance to make an urgent financial commitment to the Community Crisis Intervention Service and keep it afloat.”