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  • Northside West

Dignam launches FAST plan

Monday, 6th November, 2017 6:00pm
Dignam launches FAST plan

Pictured at the launch of the FAST Stratigic Plan are (l-r): Emmet Kirwan, Barbara Condon and Christy Dignam.

Dignam launches FAST plan

Pictured at the launch of the FAST Stratigic Plan are (l-r): Emmet Kirwan, Barbara Condon and Christy Dignam.

ADDRESSING stigma is key to challenging addiction and mental health issues, according to the Finglas Addiction Support Team (FAST).

The issue was raised at the recent launch of ‘Recovery for a better life’, FAST’s new strategic plan for 2017-2020.

Highlight of the launch was the guest appearance of Finglas legend, Christy Dignam, who acknowledged his own struggle with addiction as he launched the plan.

Dignam spoke of the great need for FAST in Finglas as well as similar services in other communities across the country.

He then sang Aslan hit ‘Crazy World’ with the Finglas Forever Young choir who provided entertainment on launch day.

The launch was well attended by participants in recovery, their families, community members, service providers from across Dublin and public representatives.

They were told that stigma is a major cause of discrimination and exclusion and is a public health issue that contributes to high rates of death, incarceration, and mental health problems among people with drug and alcohol problems.

Stigma was a key theme running through the launch and FAST ambassador, actor and writer, Emmet Kirwan, spoke about the need to address it and explained how the arts can act as a medium to highlight it.

FAST CEO, Barbara Condon, spoke about the strategic plan itself, which has three strategic properties; sustainability, innovation and growth and collaboration and communication.

“FAST proposes to develop a dual diagnosis service to meet the needs of its participants,” she said.

“The main challenge in implementing the plan will be resources, both human and financial.”

Ms Condon appealed to funders to back a dual diagnosis service, which is cost effective in the short, medium and long term.

During the launch event, two participants, Anne and Catherine, spoke movingly about their journey and the impact addiction has had on their lives.

Anne spoke about having a dual diagnosis (addiction and mental health) and how it took 41 years to be diagnosed. She highlighted getting passed from service to service without any intervention and following a severe breakdown, was sent to the Dóchas Centre (women’s female prison) as there was nowhere else to place her.

Anne now has her mental health under control and is sober. She is currently training to be a mental health advocate.

Catherine spoke about the nightmare of discovering her daughter was on drugs. She spent the next 25 years in isolation, as she was lost, embarrassed and ashamed by her daughter’s addiction.

She spoke of the pure trauma on all the family and the fear it evoked. Catherine found help and support in FAST’s family service and with the Family Support Network.

“I have got my life back and I no longer live in shame or fear,” she said.

Both participants acknowledged stigma as the main block in getting help.

FAST is a free and confidential service. If you need help or support call 01-8110595 or drop into 2a Wellmount Road, Finglas. 

FAST is funded by the Finglas Cabra Local Drug & Alcohol Task Force as part of the National Drugs Strategy.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here