Call on Council to declare mental health emergency in Derry

Fri, 22/01/2021 - 12:35 -- Editor

Derry Aontú Councillor Emmet Doyle will call on Derry City and Strabane District Council to declare a Mental Health Emergency in the district at the full Council meeting at the end of January. Prompted by continuing over-subscription of services both locally and regionally, and the opportunity through the new mental health strategy to propose positive changes, Cllr Doyle will ask Councillors to make the declaration to focus minds on the needs of people in the city  going forward. Cllr Doyle said:“I have submitted a motion to Council to declare a mental health emergency in this city and district.  In the last number of months we have seen even in-patient services locally and across the North operating at over 100% capacity, and an already swamped service both in primary care and via the community coming under yet more strain due to the impacts of the virus. My motion will seek the declaration and the establishment of an all-party group to focus on Derry’s specific needs in relation to mental health and submit that as the city’s voice to the new ten year mental health strategy consultation.  Significantly, it will also propose that Council will, as much as possible in the future, ensure that all ranges of mental health support are available in the area, whether that be fighting for specific services to be sited here, and that we lobby specifically for newly built facilities or the allocation of staff. A unified voice is urgently needed to ensure our people have the very best mental healthcare available, when we have not stood together in the past, services like the detox service went to Omagh despite more people from the city using the service than anywhere else.  We can’t allow that to happen again.   Council declaring an emergency is to draw attention locally and regionally to the problems we face but also on the work done by so many in different areas to address them.  It is not an admission of failure, rather a rallying call for all those battling mental health conditions every day, and those supporting them to pull together and act to address the challenges in a way that promotes better health, the commissioning of services and to show best practice across many of the organisations in the city that offer support services. I welcome the debate and hope my fellow Council members will back my call.”