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O’Neill supports mental health and wellbeing in rural communities

8 November, 2011 - by Michelle O'Neill

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Michelle O’Neill today met with representatives from Niamh (Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health).

Speaking after the meeting Minister O’Neill said: “My Department is committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of those living in rural communities. Organisations like Niamh can provide a valuable service to the vulnerable living in rural areas and today’s meeting provided an opportunity to explore how DARD can support actions that address mental health issues in rural areas.”

Minister O’Neill added: “I welcome the study by Niamh investigating the difference regarding suicide and help seeking behaviour between urban and rural areas. This will provide valuable research to help government address the mental health needs of vulnerable people living in rural areas.”

Speaking about the ongoing work of her Department for the wellbeing of those living in rural communities, Michelle O’Neill said: “My Department is committed to achieving equality outcomes for vulnerable groups, and provides funding for ‘Rural Support’, a charitable organisation for farmers and rural dwellers who are experiencing financial and social stress, and we work with the Rural Development Council and the Rural Community Network to develop and support rural communities.

“DARD is also working with the Public Health Agency on proposals to roll out community based ‘Health Checks’ in rural areas. This service will give rural dwellers advice on a range of health matters, including mental health.”

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