Leading Addiction & Mental Health Charities Join Forces


 Leading Addiction and Mental Health Charities Join Forces

Addiction NI are pleased to announce that we will be joining the Niamh Group (The Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health) Addiction NI.

Bringing Addiction NI into Niamh Group represents a positive and innovative move towards a more joined-up approach to overall mental health and wellbeing service provision.

Thelma Abernethy, Chief Executive of Addiction NI said, “Addiction NI are delighted to be joining the Niamh Group. This will enable us to work effectively together to address the complex issues which our clients so often present with. There is a wealth of research that shows that an integrated approach works effectively to help improve quality of life for individuals, families and communities.

This is a very important health issue for Northern Ireland as we have the highest alcohol unit in take alongside highest levels of prescription anti-depressant/tranquiliser use in the UK and alcohol is involved in at least 50% of cases of self-harm . Addiction NI is looking forward to working with Niamh to deliver high-quality, responsive, professional and joined up support to address these issues across Ireland as a whole.”

“At a time of budget pressures, commissioners are seeking more collaborative working and in an ever challenging and changing environment for charities, this proactive approach will enable us to continue to develop and deliver a range of services that are responsive to client needs.   We are confident that this will bring about positive benefits for everyone affected by these issues.”

Peter McBride, Chief Executive of Niamh explained. He said:

“Alcohol and/or drug dependency and mental ill-health are tightly interwoven, but for too long, they have been treated separately. We know, for example, that people with severe and enduring mental illnesses are at least 3 times more likely to be alcohol dependent than the general population. So many of the individuals both Niamh and Addiction NI support have a ‘Dual Diagnosis’. This means that the person suffer from both a substance use problem and a mental health issue such as depression or an anxiety disorder. We believe that if you don’t treat both together you risk not dealing with either. Both organisations are passionate about a person-centred, recovery focus. These shared values will help us build better services going forward that can adapt and respond to the changing needs of the people we support. Coming together as a group will also ensure we’ve a solid financial foundation to be able to achieve all that we want. It’ll offer opportunities to make efficiency savings and streamline our processes, allowing us to invest more in our frontline activity.”


Notes to Editors:

Addiction NI is the leading alcohol and drug treatment charity in NI with over 38 years’ experience of delivering services to individuals effected by theirs or someone else’s alcohol and/or drug use across Northern Ireland . Addiction NI is a registered charity

About Niamh: Niamh is a leading mental health and wellbeing charity that delivers a range of services which focus on mental health recovery, health and social care policy, training and counselling for employees and students across the island of Ireland via its 3 areas of service activity, Beacon, Carecall and Inspire.

Beacon provides 24/7support services to people with experience of mental ill-health through supported housing, day support and advocacy services. Carecall provides therapeutic support through workplace-based wellbeing services such as employee assistance programmes (EAP) and counselling, and training and preventative services in a wide variety of contexts including schools, colleges and workplaces throughout the UK and Ireland. Inspire provides support for approximately 100 people with learning disabilities in various locations across Northern Ireland. It is the newest Niamh service, having commenced in October 2013, and extends the reach of Niamh beyond mental health in order to also support people with a learning disability.

Useful Statistics

60% of patients who died by suicide were thought to be misusing alcohol and half of these were alcohol dependent. (The ‘Suicide and Homicide in Northern Ireland’ report (2010)

75% of users of drug services experienced mental health problems. (Weaver et al, 2002)

85% of users of alcohol services experienced mental health problems (Weaver et al, 2002)

44% of mental health service users reported drug use. (Weaver et al, 2002)

The levels of prescription anti-depressant/tranquiliser use in NI is the highest in the UK (The Detail’s project, The Script Report, 2014)

Alcohol is involved in at least 50% of cases of self-harm (Royal College of Psychiatrists in Northern Ireland)

Individuals received treatment for alcohol dependence are often diagnosed with a personality disorder. (Inst of Alcohol Studies 2014)

People with severe and enduring mental illnesses such as schizophrenia are at least 3 times more likely to be alcohol dependent that the general population (Inst of Alcohol Studies 2014)

At least 2/3 of alcohol dependent individuals entering treatment show symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression ( Alcohol & mental health MHF)

2001 – 2009: Mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol use accounted for 27% of alcohol related deaths. (Source: Alcohol use and alcohol related harm in Northern Ireland – April 2011, Public Health Agency northern Ireland)


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    AddictionNI is a trading style of Northern Ireland Community Addiction Service Limited, a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered Charity XN45132AA. Company Number 12654