Congratulations to Belfast-based mental health and suicide-prevention service Lighthouse which celebrated its 20th anniversary this month.

The organisation, which recently received BACP accreditation, was established as a community response to a community problem - the exceptionally high incidences of suicide in North Belfast. Since then, it has expanded its services to include short-term crisis intervention, counselling, complimentary therapies, family bereavement support, employee assistance programmes and ‘Ask Twice’, its youth intervention service.

Former client and author Niamh Brownlee spoke about her discharge from acute psychiatric services and receiving counselling and support from Lighthouse: “Almost immediately when I presented to them, straight out of hospital and not in a good way, Lighthouse took me in and offered me months of counselling… and still to this day, I’m blown away by how quickly they were there for me and supported me in a time when I felt that I didn’t deserve any help… that was the start of me recovering and beginning to get better. Now I can say that I have recovered from the depression, and I don’t know if that would have been the case without Lighthouse.”

Too many lives lost

The number of lives lost to suicide in Northern Ireland increased by more than 30% from 2016 to 2020 and statistics from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency published in 2022 show that rates of suicide are continuing to rise in Northern Ireland.

Paul Finnegan Executive Director of Lighthouse said they were very proud to achieve BACP accreditation: “At Lighthouse we focus on prevention and offering support to those affected by suicide. We work collaboratively to bust the stigma and ultimately save lives. By working in the centre of the community we provide a beacon of hope to all those affected by suicide.”

Our four nations lead Steve Mulligan said: ‘It is a huge privilege to present Lighthouse’s counselling service with their certificate of accreditation on behalf of BACP in recognition that their service is accountable, ethical, professional and responsive service to clients, staff, volunteers and stakeholders.

“It reflects the dedication of Lighthouse’s incredible team and the inspirational life changing support that they have provided by the past 20 years a vital and trusted service routed in the community.”