Young people must be given the chance to fulfil their potential – O’Neill

Date published: 21 June 2016


Young people must be supported and empowered to take responsibility for their own health and well-being.

Health Minister Michelle O'Neill

That was the key message from Health Minister Michelle O’Neill as she officially attended a 'Building Better Lives' programme organised in the grounds of Stormont Estate by the Saints Youth Centre, Twinbrook, Belfast.

The 'Building Better Lives' programme offers opportunities to young people to ‘Engage, Educate and Empower’ aiming to:

  • engage young people to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing
  • educate them on the risks associated with poor health choices
  • empower them to make more informed choices in relation to their health

The Minister said: “I believe that giving young people the information to help them make informed decisions about their own physical and mental health and wellbeing will empower them take control of your lives.  Encouraging young people to make healthy lifestyle choices; to be resilient and resist risky behaviour; and to seek support when needed are the core values of the ‘Building Better Lives’ programme.”

The 'Building Better Lives' programme will conclude in the autumn by encouraging and supporting the group to participate in accredited training programmes.

The Minister continued saying: “Adopting and developing good habits which can be carried into later life will provide lifelong positive health benefits and reduce the risk of developing long term health conditions.  In essence, the quality of life that we will experience is largely in our own hands.

“Central to my Department’s public health framework ‘Making Life Better’ is the need to ensure that all our young people are given the chance to fulfil their potential. Empowering our young people to become confident and enthusiastic about active and healthy living and providing them with the right support from early years throughout adolescence will ensure they grow up and contribute positively to their local communities and society as a whole.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. Making Life Better, the Strategic Framework for Public Health, is available online.
  2. Saints Youth Centre is the longest running youth provision in the Colin area and caters for an age range from 5-25 years old. Through a range of programmes and activities the Centre offers opportunities for young people to develop into mature and responsible adults who hopefully will play an important role within their community and wider society in the future.
  3. Media enquiries about this press release to DoH Press Office on 9052 0575, or out of hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.  Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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