Back in 2011, The Resurgam Trust initiated Early Intervention Lisburn (EIL) Partnership, a cross sectoral partnership to create a better understanding of the needs and improve outcomes for children and young people aged 0 to 24 years old, as well as families within local communities The project’s Board consists of key statutory, community and voluntary representatives with significant strategic and operational experience in early intervention work.

One fantastic way the partnership helps improve long-term prospects is through its Connected Minds Empowering Youth project. In August, Conor Crawford, the Youth Mental Health Coordinator, met with PAPYRUS to see how we could work together to raise awareness of suicide prevention amongst the young people in the Lisburn area.

A recent report, ‘Mental Health in Northern Ireland: Fundamental Facts [October 2023]‘, found one in four children in Northern Ireland are living in poverty (24%). The Labour Force Survey, conducted in February 2023, showed that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for those aged 16 and over in Northern Ireland was 2.5%. This is lower than the UK unemployment rate, which was 3.7%. The recent Young Life and Times (YLT) study found that 45.2% of 16-year-olds had a probable mental illness (32.8% of males and 52.9% of females). As a suicide prevention charity, PAPYRUS understands how many factors can impact the mental health and suicidal behaviour of young people. PAPYRUS aims to reach these young people early in life and their distress to let them know there is support and hope out there.

In October, the Connected Minds Empowering Youth Project hosted a HOPEWALK in Lisburn. The committee organised it, and Ugne Gircuite, Mental Health Ambassador, and Connected Minds Youth Committee Brooke Moorehead led the walk. We walked through the city of Lisburn and were hosted by the Mayor, Cllr Andrew Gowan, at the Civic Centre at the end of the walk.We spoke with Ugne and Brooke about why they wanted to walk with PAPYRUS, and they explained that they had a lost a friend recently to suicide and wanted to do something positive in his memory; they wanted to remind young people that there is help out there. The positivity and engagement of these young leaders in their community must not be underestimated. These young women and the Connected Minds Empowering Youth Project committee are dedicated to leaving a positive mark on their community. They believe that young people’s mental health can be better in Northern Ireland and are doing their part to make sure young people in their area know this.

The Connected Minds Empowering Youth Project committee used their HOPEWALK as an opportunity not only to raise awareness of PAPYRUS, but also vital donations to our cause, and collected £60 to help save young lives. This money will support PAPYRUS to answer calls from young people, support our volunteers to raise awareness and deliver excellent training. The contribution these young people have made is already going a long way to support the work of PAPYRUS in creating suicide-safer communities and reducing young suicides in Northern Ireland and across the Lisburn area.

We want to thank all the Connected Minds Empowering Youth Project and staff of Early Intervention Lisburn who have engaged with us. We look forward to continuing our work together and making our communities in Northern Ireland suicide-safer.

If you are interested in partnering with PAPYRUS on a project in your local community, please get in touch with your local team using the information here.

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