Finglas Addiction Support Team (FAST) launch new strategic plan 2017-2020 ‘Recovery for a better life’. The launch event was extremely well attended by participants, family members, community members, service providers from across Dublin and public representatives.
Two participants, Anne and Catherine spoke about their journey and the impact addiction has had on them. 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, she 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 family service and with the Family Support Network. She claims, ‘I have got my life back and I no longer live in shame or fear’. Both participants acknowledged stigma as the main block in getting help.
Stigma is a major cause of discrimination and exclusion, it is a public health issue, which contributes to high rates of death, incarceration, and mental health problems among people with drug and alcohol problems. Stigma has the potential to negatively affect a person’s self-esteem, damage relationships with loved ones and prevent those suffering from addiction from accessing treatment. Unfortunately, people who experience stigma regarding their drug use are often less likely to seek treatment. Stigma was a key theme running through the launch. FAST ambassador, actor and writer Emmet Kirwan spoke about the need to address stigma and how the arts can act as a medium to highlight it.
Barbara Condon CEO, spoke about the strategic plan itself, it has three strategic properties (i) sustainability, (ii) innovation and growth and (iii) collaboration and communication. FAST proposes to develop a dual diagnosis service to meet the needs of it’s participants. 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.
The highlight of the launch was the guest appearance of Finglas and worldwide legend Christy Dignam. Christy acknowledged his own struggle with addiction, he launched the plan and spoke of the great need for FAST in Finglas and similar services in other communities across the country. Christy sang crazy world with the Finglas Forever Young choir who provided the entertainment on the day. The Forever Young choir were amazing and created a real celebratory atmosphere. FAST would like to thank everyone who attended and participated in the launch.
FAST is a free and confidential service, for support contact (01) 8110595 or drop into 2a Wellmount Road, Finglas.
Source: FAST, 02/11/18