25 November 2019
Northern Ireland has higher rates of self-harm and 25% more mental health problems than the rest of the UK, the DUP’s East Belfast Westminster candidate Gavin Robinson has said. That is why the Party has made it a priority in its Twelve Point Plan to Get Northern Ireland Moving Again.
Mr Robinson said,
“In the last Parliament, DUP MPs were able to work as a team and deliver an additional £10m per year for five years to be targeted at improving our mental health services. That money is being used and making a difference but we could have done so much more had there been a local Health Minister driving forward change. In the first year the funding helped suicide prevention, talking therapies, and drug and alcohol misuse.
Separately the £200m additional money for health transformation from the Confidence and Supply Agreement is also making a difference in mental health, funding new mental health workers in primary care for example, and we want to see more child and adolescent specialist support within these multidisciplinary teams.
Multi-Agency Triage has also been introduced involving two police officers, a mental health nurse and a paramedic working together to respond to people with mental health problems, and new crisis intervention/ de-escalation services have been commenced in Londonderry and Belfast.
Mental ill-health is impacting families in every street. There is a legacy from the Troubles, also carried forward amongst today’s generation, which we must address. In our Twelve Point Plan we commit to work towards narrowing the gap between the funding of physical health services and mental health. We want to see a more preventative approach by building resilience and focusing on coping skills.
Our Twelve Point Plan has a range of proposals to improve mental health services by providing more community psychiatry services, enhanced regional perinatal mental health services and better preventative work in schools. We also want to see the full implementation of the Mental Capacity Act permitting individuals to make their own decisions.
We want a strong team of DUP MPs returned to Westminster so we can maximise Northern Ireland’s influence and deliver more for Northern Ireland.
We can only deliver certain changes for mental services. Real fundamental change is the preserve of a local Minister. It is high time Sinn Fein recognised that their narrow party political wish list is not more important than the delivery of mental health and other key services for all the people of Northern Ireland.”