​Mid and East Antrim Borough Council have teamed up with the PSNI, PHA and local community groups in an attempt to highlight the range of services available within Mid and East Antrim to those who suffer from mental health and wellbeing issues including the misuse of drugs and alcohol.

Following a number of tragic events over the recent months, a number of Council motions were raised by our elected members.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council alongside their Community Planning partners agreed to support any initiative that would help raise awareness of these issues which have had a devastating impact on families and our communities as a whole.

The #Here2Help roadshow will take place on Wednesday 12 February at 10 am in Ballymena North Business and Recreation Centre on the Cushendall Road right in the heart of the community.

The event is OPEN to everyone and is free to attend.

The roadshow will also see the launch in this borough of the #Here2Help Smartphone App.

The app has been developed in order that local residents can quickly access contact details for range of support services available to them within the borough.

It aims to provide helplines for users to get support instantly while also providing a wide range of links to reading materials that can help people in their time of need.

The Here2Help campaign will see Council deliver a wide range of social media, bus advertising and digital media to promote and encourage everyone to download the app onto their phones

The event will be open to all with pupils from across all eight Ballymena Learning Together schools invited alongside key decision-makers, elected members, and local community groups.

Speakers at the event will include those directly affected by Mental Health, Wellbeing and Drug and Alcohol issues in their families.

The event will also hear from those who found a way to turn their life around using the Support Services available on the Here2Help app.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Councillor Maureen Morrow, said: “The #Here2Help roadshow is an opportunity for us as a council to demonstrate to all our communities our commitment to helping and supporting them. We are listening and want to help in whatever way possible those who are affected by issues such and Mental Health and Wellbeing and the very real dangers of Drug and Alcohol Misuse.

“As part of this campaign we want to highlight the vast amount of support available to our communities and by supporting the HERE2HELP app we hope that we make the information on support services even more accessible to anyone who needs advice or support.

“As a Council, we have highlighted our commitment to providing key opportunities for everyone to become involved within the local community through our area’s Community Plan “Putting People First”. “

The Community Plan focuses on improving the wellbeing of citizens and all aspects of life in the borough over the next 15 years. The Community Plan aims to improve the way public services are planned and delivered throughout the borough, with an emphasis on everyone working together to tackle issues and achieve collaborative gain for the benefit of all.

Alderman John Carson Chair of Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership said: “Mid and East Antrim PCSP are committed to our communities and we are determined to try and help were we can to help address the concerns raised by our community in relation to Mental Health and Wellbeing and Drug and Alcohol Misuse. We hope the entire community download this FREE app in order that they have the information available at their fingertips when they need it most. This borough has been directly affected by some of these issues and as a Partnership, we want to reassure the community that we will do whatever we can to help.”

A reduced form of the Roadshow will over the coming months travel to all schools within the borough beginning in Carrickfergus on Thursday 13 February 2020.

PSNI Vulnerability Inspector C/Inspector William Calderwood said: “This roadshow is extremely important as we continue to address the seriousness of these issues and we remain committed to working together to ensuring the most vulnerable in our society get the help and support they need.”

Recent figures released by NISRA on the number of deaths within this Borough as a result of Mental Health issues and Drugs and Alcohol are staggering and we as a Police Service want to demonstrate that we are here to support the most vulnerable in our community.

Michael Owen, the PHA’s lead for drugs and alcohol, said: “Drug and alcohol misuse can affect anyone and can have a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities. Every drug-related death is one death too many, but there is help available whether you are a drug user, or are affected by someone else’s alcohol and drug misuse.

“All drugs carry risks, so it is strongly recommended that you do not take anything unless it has been prescribed to you by a medical professional and in accordance with your prescription.

“In particular we urge people to be aware of the risks associated with ‘poly-drug misuse’ i.e. misusing more than one substance at the same time, including alcohol, as you have no way of knowing how they will combine and what affect they will have on your physical and mental health. Often, mixing can increase the toxicity of the substances and can be deadly.”

Services are available in your local area for anyone impacted by substance misuse. These can be found at www.drugsandalcoholni.info.

To register to attend the FREE Roadshow or if you would like to have the Roadshow visit your school or Community Group please email: lisa.thompson@midandeastantrim.gov.uk or call T: 028 2826 2367.