NI mental health spending ‘unacceptable’ - Campbell

NI mental health spending ‘unacceptable’ - Campbell

People in Northern Ireland are being let down by the failure adequately to tackle mental health issues caused by the Troubles, Alastair Campbell has said.

Tony Blair’s former communications director was speaking ahead of the Mental Health Summit, which takes place at the Stormont Hotel on Wednesday.

Organised by Action Mental Health, one of Northern Ireland’s leading mental health charities, it aims to bring all of the main stakeholders together to outline a way forward for the future of mental health services in Northern Ireland.  

Northern Ireland has a higher level of mental ill health than other parts of the UK, but a lower level of investment.

The former Labour government director said spending on mental health in Northern Ireland is ‘unacceptable and needs to change’.

“The Bamford report in 2008 set out a workable way forward, but one of the by-products of the 2008 downturn was a lack of funding to implement the Bamford recommendations in full,” the co-founder of the Equality for Mental Health campaign said.

“I think a good outcome from your event would be for all who are involved to commit to seeing funding shortfalls addressed and corrected in the lifetime of the next Assembly.”

“For all the progress made elsewhere, I believe the people of Northern Ireland are being let down by the failure adequately to tackle one of the long term legacies of the Troubles.”

Alastair Campbell

“I will wait and watch very carefully to see how the extra £600m announced for mental health by Chancellor George Osborne stacks up. But it is a very welcome step, and a sign that politicians of all shades understand this is an issue whose time has come," Mr Campbell continued.

“It is why I also welcomed Jeremy Corbyn's elevation of mental health to a top-table shadow cabinet position with the appointment of Luciana Berger. Also, last year, the Scottish government took the decision to allocate an extra £85m to bolster mental health services, so too Wales has committed an extra £8m annually to cope with mental health needs. All steps in the right direction.

“When we look at this in the context of Northern Ireland, with its troubled past and higher level of anxiety and mental illness, this long running situation of under investment in mental health services is out of step with the rest of the UK. It must be tackled, and the proposals put forward by Action Mental Health go some way towards addressing the funding and structural problems which remain.”

He concluded: “I would urge all parties to understand this really is an issue whose time has come, and it really is time to change, and work towards the tipping point on mental health that I am sure is coming.”

© UTV

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Comments (1)

Newest it crowd in newtownards wrote (3 months ago):

This is eating disorder awareness week. Haven't heard any media outlet run with it. Lets start talking about mental health. If someone it diagnosed with a terminal illness support/care and reassurance is given. When my daughter was diagnosed with anorexia ,one of the most fatal mental illnesses noone rushed to support or give us reassurance. Seven years later and solely down to her she is surviving. Mental health can kill,its not someone's choice to have mental health problems just like its not a choice to have cancer.

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