Leading mental health charities ask public to support call for Mental Health Champion

Leading mental health charities ask public to support call for Mental Health Champion

This World Mental Health Day (10 October) Together For You, a partnership of nine leading mental health charities, are asking the public to support their call for a Mental Health Champion in Northern Ireland.

Together For You is led by Action Mental Health (AMH) working with Aware, CAUSE, Cruse Bereavement Care, MindWise, Nexus NI, Praxis Care, Relate NI and The Rainbow Project.  Brought together a project funded from the Big Lottery Fund, the organisations continue to work together to improve mental health and wellbeing for everyone in Northern Ireland.

Spokesperson for the partnership David Babington, Chief Executive of AMH explains “Northern Ireland is reported to have a 25% higher overall prevalence of mental health problems than England (Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (2014). NI has also consistently had significantly higher anti-depressant prescribing costs per capita than other UK regions for depression. Worse still the number of suicides in Northern Ireland amounts to a rate of 16.4 per 100,000 population. This was the highest of the devolved nations in 2014, compared to 10.3 in England, 9.2 in Wales and 14.5 in Scotland (Office for National Statistics. (2016)). Yet despite health and social care in Northern Ireland being a wholly devolved issue, Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK not to have a dedicated and independent role within Government ‘Championing’ Mental Health. 

The organisations within Together For You recognise the need for someone independent of government who can publically advocate for the improvement of the mental health and wellbeing of the people of Northern Ireland; and in particular the substantial improvement in the everyday lives of people who experience mental health problems, their family members and carers, and communities who experience mental health inequalities.

David Babington explains “Following the Mental Health Summit held in February 2016 which involved stakeholders across the Mental Health sector in Northern Ireland, a Mental Health Champion was identified as the one key initiative which could be taken by government to make a real difference to improve the lives of service users, carers and future generations across the region. We welcomed and were encouraged by the recent Assembly debate on the need for a Mental Health Champion, which gained all Party support. We do acknowledge there will be a resource implication but this will be more than offset by helping to support all departments to achieve some of the much needed pieces of work around mental health and wellbeing set out in the draft Programme for Government Framework. Therefore, this World Mental Health Week Together For You want to continue to highlight the need for this cross departmental role in Northern Ireland by launching an online campaign for public support, to ensure that mental health gets the prominence it deserves and achieves parity with physical health.”

Together For You are asking people to support the call for a Mental Health Champion by joining their ‘Thunderclap’. Click here: http://thndr.me/qHMDJk

For further information on Together For You visit http://www.togetherforyou.org.uk/news/view/support-our-call-for-a-mental-health-champion

About Together For You

Together For You is a partnership project funded by the Big Lottery Fund involving nine leading mental health charities from Northern Ireland.  Led by Action Mental Health, the partnership includes Aware, CAUSE, Cruse Bereavement Care, MindWise, Nexus, Praxis Care, Relate NI and The Rainbow Project.  Despite an end to services through the project, the partners continue to work together to share knowledge and expertise with key stakeholders in order to improve mental health service provision in Northern Ireland.

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