Minister for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler has announced new funding for Seeking Safety Ireland.

This programme previously received pilot funding through the Women’s Health Fund, and the announcement of permanent funding today ensures that this programme can continue its work on a recurring basis.

The allocation is part of a suite of supports funded under the additional €10 million funding allocation for mental health announced by Minister Butler in January.

The Seeking Safety Programme is an internationally recognised manual for establishing safety in the lives of women with a dual diagnosis.

Seeking Safety Ireland is rolling out the Seeking Safety Programme to women in Ireland who were experiencing the dual diagnosis of mental health difficulties and addiction, in addition to domestic and sexual gender-based violence and associated issues.

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Minister Butler said:

I am really pleased to provide new funding for this excellent programme, which supports women in very difficult situations.

The majority of women engaging with Seeking Safety Ireland have a life-long history of trauma.

Many have a family and a personal history of addiction, mental health difficulties and in some cases have experienced physical and sexual abuse.

This new funding will allow this vital work to continue.

 

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Led by the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) National Clinical Programme for Dual Diagnosis, Seeking Safety Ireland consists of seven community projects specialising in working with women with dual diagnosis. Lived experience is central to the design of this peer led, recovery-oriented programme.

The recent evaluation of Seeking Safety Ireland reported that, in its first nine months, this programme engaged with 317 women, delivering 245 group and 145 individual sessions.

It was scaled up quickly, with a 78% increase in the number of sessions delivered across six months.

 

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Minister Butler continued:

It has been a key priority for me to ensure continued investment in National Clinical Programmes, including Dual Diagnosis. Seeking Safety Ireland provide extremely valuable supports to women with a dual diagnosis to help them establish safety in their lives and prepare them for recovery.

It is so important that the work of our mental health services is informed by lived experience.

Lived experience is central to the design, implementation and evaluation of Seeking Safety.

This demonstrates that a peer-led, recovery oriented programme that takes account of lived experience can make a real difference to vulnerable people in our society.

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Barbara Condon, CEO of Ruhama said:

Seeking Safety Ireland (SSI) warmly welcomes Minister Butler’s announcement of recurring funding for this very important programme.

This is a partnership between the HSE and seven community partners (Red Door, Saol, Ruhama, Ballyfermot Star, Sophia, Roscommon Women’s Network and Star Ballymun).

This is great news and will be of huge benefit in supporting some of society’s most vulnerable and hidden women.

SSI is an evidence-based coping skills approach to support women who have experienced trauma and addiction with a focus on Domestic, Sexual Gender-Based Violence.

In the initial 18-month pilot phase the programme has supported over 400 women in Dublin, Roscommon and Louth.

Key to the programme’s success is the involvement and employment of peer workers with lived experience who greatly enhance what seeking safety is all about.

We look forward to the expansion and future growth of this evidence-based programme regionally and nationally.

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