06/04/2018

Youth Index 'Stark Evidence' Of Need Of Increased Mental Health Resources

The latest Prince's Trust Youth Index, which revealed that almost half of Northern Ireland's youth experience mental health issues, has been described as "stark evidence" of the need for increased resources for mental health.

SDLP Mental Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan MLA said: "While the content of this piece of research by The Prince's Trust is shocking, sadly, it is not surprising. Mental health is a massive and growing issue right across society and problems with mental health are, and will be, the single biggest challenge for the next generation.

"The report released today shows that 44% of young people surveyed have experienced a mental health problem. The high percentage of respondents who reported as having had mental health problems suggests that they are at least comfortable to share that information. This is indicative that, at last, the stigma attached to such issues is beginning to be broken.

"However, there is still a long way to go. We cannot simply encourage people to talk if there are not enough Counsellors available to listen and help them. The report released today is stark evidence of the need for increased resources for mental health.
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"Not only should we have more investment in treating people's problems, there must also be a real focus on helping people help themselves. The importance of building young people's mental resilience cannot be underestimated and must be addressed meaningfully by the Department of Health in conjunction with Education here.

"Last year, Theresa May announced a fund of £300 million to be spent to enable children and young people to access mental health support at school or college. It is imperative that children and young people in Northern Ireland are given the same opportunities for support.

"Some schools are doing their best to equip their pupils to cope with what life throws at them, bringing in mental health experts to do so but their budgets are being squeezed tighter and tighter.

"It is clear from the report that our young people are worried about what the future holds for them, seeing few opportunities here. This hopelessness is a sad indictment of politics here. All political parties have a duty here to get a Government up and running - a Government that is forward thinking and outward looking. One that embraces the ideas and harnesses the abilities of our young people, shaping a society they look forward to growing up in."

(MH/LM)

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