SDLP Deputy Leader Nichola Mallon MLA has renewed the party’s call for a dedicated Junior Minister with responsibility for Mental Health and Well Being.
Speaking after the publication of a letter calling for action on suicide prevention in Northern Ireland, the North Belfast MLA said:
“The crisis in mental health, addiction and emotional wellbeing affecting all of our communities is a public health emergency. Too many families have been plunged into despair by the loss of a loved one who should have been offered immediate support at the point of need.
“The scale of this crisis demands action. The SDLP will support Health Minister Robin Swann as he seeks to take quick action to make this a priority for the new Executive. But we have previously reflected that this is an emergency that goes beyond the immediate remit of the Department of Health. We know that poverty, inequality, loneliness, isolation and a lack of opportunity are driving despair.
“We are renewing our call for a Junior Minister for Mental Health and Well Being to work across Executive Departments to deal with this crisis and implement new Mental Health and Addiction action plans. People and families are crying out for help. We need to demonstrate that we are serious about addressing this challenge.”