Minister David Ford and Yvonne Boyle, Alliance Assembly Candidate, recently visited a local mental health advocacy group, Bee Heard, 22a New Row, Coleraine, which provides free drop-in service and support for people with mental health issues in the Causeway area.
Minister Ford, who was a social worker before entering politics, said: ‘I’m delighted to visit this excellent agency which provides much needed support locally for those who are under pressure.’
Yvonne Boyle, a recently retired mental health social worker, added:
‘One in five people in the Causeway area will suffer from mental health problems at some time in their lives. Voluntary groups such as Bee Heard, run by service users and volunteers in co-operation with statutory services, provide a much needed safety net. Such partnership working is essential to continue to address the increase in self-harm and suicide in the community, especially among young men.
Alliance believes that mental health should be placed at the core of public health agenda. Mental health services in Northern Ireland continue to underfunded compared with with UK mental health services, even though mental health conditions here are more prevalent due to the legacy of the Troubles.
We believe that we must continue to tackle stigma associated with mental health and groups such as Bee Heard are playing an important part in that. Minister Ford and I wish them well in their work.