PHA launches public consultation on Lifeline service


The Public Health Agency (PHA) has launched a 12 week public consultation on the future of the Lifeline crisis response service.

The current Lifeline service is a free-to-call regional confidential telephone helpline for people who are in emotional crisis and are at risk of self-harm or suicide. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. The current Lifeline service was commissioned in 2012 by the PHA as part of a range of measures to tackle suicide under the Protect Life suicide prevention strategy.

The aim of the Lifeline service is to de-escalate callers at risk of self-harm or suicide, provide an immediate response proportionate to the caller’s assessed risk and deliver short-term rapid response community counselling. The current Lifeline contract was due to end on 31 March 2015, but was extended until 31 December 2015, with the potential of a further extension 30 September 2016.

The PHA is keen to engage with the public and relevant stakeholders to ensure that the future service specification is appropriately informed. The PHA has already undertaken a Lifeline pre-consultation public engagement, the findings of which have assisted the agency in identifying the most effective and efficient model to obtain the best outcomes for taking the service forward.

The new public consultation paper provides a description of the proposed new Lifeline crisis service model and outlines the rationale behind this proposal.

Brendan Bonner, the PHA lead on the Lifeline service, said: “The Public Health Agency is keen to engage with the public and relevant stakeholders to ensure that the future Lifeline service specification is appropriately informed and the future services are fit for purpose. This is an essential service and forms an important element of our work with many partners to reduce the risk of suicide in our community. We would encourage those who have an interest to submit a response to the public consultation.”

Further information on the consultation can accessed on the PHA’s website at

The closing date for responses to the consultation is 19 November 2015 at 1pm.

A number of public workshops on the future of the Lifeline service have been planned.

Details are as follows:

7 September, 10am – 12 midday: Steeple Room, Antrim Civic Centre, 50 Stiles Way, Antrim, BT41 2UB.

7 September, 2pm – 4pm: Chestnut Suite, Island Civic Centre, Lagan Valley Island, Lisburn, Co Antrim, BT27 4RL.

10 September, 2pm – 4pm: Conference Room, 1st Floor, Omagh Enterprise Centre, Great Northern Road, Omagh, Co Tyrone, BT78 5LU.

14 September, 10am – 12 midday: Bann Room, Farset International, 466 Springfield Road, Belfast, BT12 7DW.

14 September, 2pm – 4pm: Boardroom, Tower Hill, Armagh, Co Armagh, BT61 9DR.

15 September, 10am – 12pm: Baskin Room, Skainos Square, 239 Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 1AF.

To register for one of the above workshops please email or telephone Elizabeth McGrath on (028) 9536 3454 advising which workshop you wish to attend.