Health Minister Michelle O’Neill today welcomed two new services to help people with mental health issues through their recovery process.
The Wellmind Hub and Recovery College have been launched by the Southern Trust to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.
Speaking at the launch event at The Junction in Dungannon, the Minister said: “I am delighted to see that a further major step has been taken on the road to fully modernised mental health services in the North of Ireland. The Hubs and the College offer a fresh approach to developing and sustaining mental health recovery, and this is at the heart of my plans to champion mental health.”
Co-produced by service users, carers and staff, the Recovery College programme aims to provide educational courses for people with mental health difficulties.
The Wellmind Hubs offer a range of support options for people with common mental health conditions for example, anxiety, stress or low mood. Care is offered by a range of independent sector providers, community groups or from within the Hub, depending on the needs of the person.
Reinforcing her commitment to making mental health one of her key priorities, the Minister continued: “Underpinning the Programme for Government will be my personal commitment to move towards parity of esteem for mental health. This means that mental health would, in time, receive the allocation of attention, effort and resources on a basis which fully meets local needs.
“This will be a very long-term goal considering the challenging financial position faced by the Executive and the competing priorities right across the Health and Social Care service, but it is the aspiration I have chosen to work towards as a first step in the next phase of improvement in mental health provision.”
The Recovery College offers courses at a variety of venues across the Southern Trust area. The Wellmind Hubs have been initially set up in the Armagh and Dungannon areas and plans are now underway to extend them into the Craigavon/Banbridge and Newry/Mourne localities.
Notes to editors:
- In addition to helping people learn about recovery and manage their own mental health and wellbeing, the wide range of courses available through the Recovery College help families, friends and carers to understand mental health conditions so they are able to support their loved one on their recovery journey.
- It is hoped that the Wellmind Hubs will help to addressing mental health difficulties at an early stage, without the need in most cases for a referral to secondary health and social care services.
- Parity of esteem is the principle by which mental health is given equal priority to physical health. It is not a call for 50-50 funding between physical and mental health, rather, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, it would ensure that there would be:
- equal access to the most effective and safest care and treatment;
- equal efforts to improve the quality of care;
- the allocation of time, effort and resources on a basis commensurate with need;
- equal status within healthcare education and practice;
- equally high aspirations for service users; and
- equal status in the measurement of health outcomes.
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