Health Minister visits Nightingale Crisis Support Centre

Date published: 18 February 2016


Minister Simon Hamilton today has seen at first-hand the work of the Nightingale Crisis Support Centre in Belfast.

The Nightingale Centre in East Belfast provides a 24/7 service for those in distress and offers a safe place in the community experiencing serious emotional difficulties. The centre is led by FASA (Forum for Action on Substance Abuse).

Facilities at the centre include a welcome suite for assessment and conversation, a calming room, interview rooms and a computer suite. Services include crisis response, crisis intervention, befriending and peer support, holistic therapy, and telephone crisis family support.

Praising the staff of the Nightingale Crisis Support Centre, Minister Hamilton said: “I very much value the work that FASA do for local communities, they provide vital help and support for people in crisis, especially during the hours of the night when someone in this position may feel they have nowhere else to turn.

“The Nightingale Centre provides a unique opportunity to intervene when a person is in crisis and to ensure that their situation does not deteriorate to the point where they harm themselves. Showing care and compassion to someone in despair who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts is vitally important in preventing these thoughts being translated into actions. FASA provides non-judgemental support at times when other community services may not be available.

“While suicide rates remain stubbornly high at around 290 deaths each year, I have no doubt that the situation would be much worse if it were not for the unstinting efforts and life-saving intervention of community groups like FASA.”

Concluding the Minister said: “If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, you can also call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. This is a confidential service, where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the phone and follow up with other support if necessary. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

You can also access the Lifeline website.

Notes to editors: 

  1. FASA was formed in 1995 by local parents in the Greater Shankill area to support and co-ordinate services in relation to substance misuse. It now provides services for those affected by substance misuse, suicide, and self harm. Services are delivered across Belfast, Bangor, North Down and Ards with some services provided on a Northern Ireland wide basis.
  2. FASA established the Nightingale crisis support centre in 2014 as a “safe place” facility to provide a supportive environment for someone experiencing emotional or social crisis.
  3. Media enquiries to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0567 or out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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