Speaking after addressing the NI Mental Health Expo, the South Down MLA said, “A previous NI Youth Wellbeing survey found that 12.6% of children and young people in Northern Ireland experience common mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. This is around 25% higher than other UK regions. Facing this problem we have a funding deficit for mental health services, demonstrating the chronic underfunding of public services across the board. Alongside a fundamental review of how we are funded, there is a need for targeted action.
Early intervention can make a significant difference in tackling a range of issues, including mental health. The previous Education Minister launched a programme developing Trauma Informed Practice training to help better understand the impact it can have on young people.
From ensuring parents can access affordable childcare to increasing the funding for CAMHS, early intervention can deliver lifelong outcomes. The current funding deficit we face is not sustainable and must be addressed alongside strategic and targeted investment to deliver real improvements to our mental health.”