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Stormont MLAs have met with members of the community and voluntary sector at the All Party Group on Mental Health’s annual general meeting last month.
The group provides a forum by which MLAs and outside organisations and individuals can meet to discuss mental health issues facing communities in Northern Ireland. The discussions help to inform MLAs of pressing concerns and issues, which they can bring back to Stormont to influence policy.
Left to right: Tom McEneaney (AWARE), Caroline Devlin (MindWise), Pádraig Delargy (Sinn Fein Foyle MLA and Chair of the APG on Mental Health) and Elaine Black (MindWise)
The cross-party group reconstituted to elect officers and members, with Sinn Fein’s Foyle MLA Pádraig Delargy taking on the role as Chair. Other MLAs sitting on the group include the SDLP’s Mark H Durkan as Vice Chair and Alliance’s Sorcha Eastwood as Secretary. Local depression charity AWARE, has acted as secretariat of the group since September 2020 and are now passing the role over to MindWise for the next two years.
Pádraig Delargy said, “I’m honoured to be selected as Chair of the All-Party Group on Mental Health. I look forward to working with the other MLAs in the group, local mental health organisations and members of the community to promote positive mental health and ensure people are supported.”
“The immediate priority is getting the Executive up and running now to invest an extra £1 billion in the health service, including funding for mental health services and delivery of the mental health strategy.”
The 10-year Mental Health Strategy launched last year by Health Minister Robin Swann, sets out a clear strategy for reducing the levels of self-harm and suicide in Northern Ireland. Amongst the top priorities are tackling long wait times to access mental health services and ensuring that mental health becomes embedded in school curriculums".
The All Party Group on Mental Health welcomes third sector organisations, health groups and individuals. If you'd like to be kept informed of future meetings, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org