‘Vital to protect mental health among young people’ - Flynn
There is a responsibility on government departments to ensure the mental health of all young people is valued and protected, Sinn Féin MLA Órlaithí Flynn has said.
The party’s Mental Health spokesperson and Chair of the All Party Group on Suicide Prevention was speaking after new figures showed that one in 10 school children in the north have a diagnosable mental illness.
Órlaithí Flynn said: “I am deeply concerned at the ongoing mental ill health crisis among our young people.
“News that one in 10 young people have a diagnosable mental illness and 35,000 children were treated by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in 2018 makes for shocking reading.
“There are many different factors contributing to the levels of mental ill health including deprivation, inequality and barriers to accessing services.
“We need to look at how we can prevent, intervene earlier and support our existing services which are already under so much pressure.
"Sinn Féin has consistently called for emotional resilience to be a key part of the school curriculum and encouraged post primary schools to respond to the National Children's Bureau survey.
“The Department of Health intends to implement the Protect Life 2 Suicide Prevention Strategy and while this will help it needs to be adequately funded to help deliver for those individuals and communities in crisis.
“There is a responsibility on all departments to understand how their decisions and policies impact on wider mental ill health for the population as well as creating problems for our young people in the future.
“Sinn Féin will continue to push for better services for all our young people which are based on objective need.
“The mental health of all young people must be valued and now more than ever young people need to know that there are services available to support them.”