Hamilton announces world leading Mental Trauma Service for Northern Ireland

Date published: 10 September 2015

Health Minister Simon Hamilton has today announced the setting up of a world leading mental health service to provide high quality effective treatment for people experiencing trauma related mental health problems in Northern Ireland.

Making the announcement Health Minister Simon Hamilton said the service was essential, explaining: “Around one in every four adults will experience a diagnosable mental health problem at any given time. Indeed, this makes mental ill health the largest cause of disability in Northern Ireland. We know that much of this is directly related to the legacy of the Troubles.

“A study this year found that over 213,000 people in Northern Ireland are experiencing significant mental health problems as a result of the Troubles. Worryingly, the report also noted that that traumatic experiences and exposure to violence can lead to adverse mental health and other consequences not only for the person themselves, but also for subsequent generations.”

The Minister continued: “I want Northern Ireland to become a world leader in treating people with psychological trauma. On this basis, I have tasked officials to create an innovative service which will meet the needs of those suffering from mental trauma.

“While the full details of this service will continue to be developed in the coming weeks and months, in practice, the model will need to be a collaborative partnership across the community, voluntary and statutory sectors. This is in recognition of the fact that, for people to recover, they will often need a combination of evidence- based social, family, psychological and psychiatric interventions.”

The final model will allow for a range of interventions, meeting the spectrum of need across our community. It will involve leading edge, evidence based treatments in line with NICE guidelines, as well as services provided directly in the community.

The Minister concluded: “I think we can all agree that such a service would be a fitting legacy to those who suffered during the Troubles.”

Notes to editors: 

  • In Northern Ireland there are higher rates of self-harm, and both common and more serious mental health problems. It is estimated that mental health problems in Northern Ireland are 20–25% higher than in the rest of the UK.
  • Media enquiries to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0505 or out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.

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