Green Party campaigner calls on Westminster to put mental health funding at top of list

Tuesday February 20 2018

Green Party rep Mal O’Hara has called on the UK government to put mental health funding at the top of its list of priorities for Northern Ireland.

His comments come as mental health campaigners warned that the health service is being starved of funding and decision-making, at a time when the suicide rate has risen to deeply worrying levels.

“I fully support these campaigners who are calling on Westminster to act quickly to deliver mental health priorities, including the establishment of a regional trauma service to address the mental health legacy of the Troubles and the appointment of a mental health champion to work across government in Northern Ireland.  We know that suicide and poorer mental health disproportionally affects vulnerable groups and people living in areas of greater deprivation.  These groups and localities must be prioritised.” said Mr O’Hara.

“It is truly shocking that more people have now died through suicide since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 then during the entire Troubles. Northern Ireland is a society emerging from conflict with greater levels of poverty, yet we spend less per head on mental health than services in other parts of these islands.  This is intolerable.

“We are facing a tidal wave of deaths through suicide and yet dealing with this does not appear to have been a priority while the political impasse has dragged on. Front line services are struggling to cope and need additional investment to meet the need.

“Northern Ireland needs someone to take responsibility for this and if the traditional parties cannot pull a deal together, then it is up to Westminster to take a lead.”

 

ENDS

Linda Stewart

028 9052 1141
07594 391264
07761 254553

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