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mike-nesbitt-robin-swann24th February 2016 – SWANN URGES MORE HELP FOR MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

North Antrim UUP MLA Robin Swann, left, along with party leader Mike Nesbitt MLA launch the Ulster Unionist Party’s document on Mental Health and Wellbeing.

MR ROBIN SWANN MLA, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assembly member and Chairman of the Stormont All Party Committee on Congenital Heart Conditions, has called on the Stormont Executive “to focus the necessary funding on improving the mental health of people throughout Northern Ireland”.

Assemblyman Swann, who is also UUP Chief Whip and North Antrim UUP Chairman, issued his call as he and party leader Mike Nesbitt MLA published the party’s policy document on Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Mr Swann said: ““I commend the Party Leader for the leadership role he has played in highlighting this problem. Mental health has long been regarded as the Cinderella service in the NHS. Michael McGimpsey did much to bring on the recommendations of the Bamford Review into mental health.

“Unfortunately, his successors in the DUP failed to take the opportunity to invest a relatively modest amount in mental health services, which would have made Bamford a reality, and been transformative for those who suffer poor mental health, and their families.

“This document is a pledge of our commitment to the many thousands who seek help, who yearn for an end to lost opportunities in employment, education, health and housing, and who simply crave for hope.

“The Stormont Executive, and especially the DUP health minister, need to forget about any empty rhetoric and take on board the clear way forward as outlined in the UUP’s constructive policy document on health and wellbeing.”

The Ulster Unionist Party policy document is the first in a series of policy documents, complementing the “Our Vision for you – The Voter” paper that was launched two weeks ago.

Supporting Mr Swann, Mr Nesbitt added: “It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that the first in the series deals with mental health and wellbeing issues.

“This is an area where Northern Ireland has particular problems, and where timely action by the Northern Ireland Executive could yield a triple win for our people: tackling a toxic legacy of the Troubles; empowering people to move off benefits; and in making it possible for them to become economically active, it will help rebalance the economy and drive the prosperity agenda.

“I have taken my campaign to the Prime Minister in London. He gets it, and indeed recently pledged a huge spend on mental health issues in England. The shadow Secretary of State gets it, and Labour have agreed that this is an area of need where

Northern Ireland can argue for additional, ring-fenced funding from the Treasury.

“All the local political parties also seem to understand the debilitating nature of the problem which is likely to see one in four of us suffer some form of mental health issue this year. The evidence is there. This is our assessment of practical, affordable next steps to tackling the problem.”

You can download a copy of the Ulster Unionist Party`s document on Mental Health and WellbeingHERE

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