High profile Mental Health awareness campaign required – McCallion

Sinn Féin MLA Elisha McCallion has called for a Mental Health awareness campaign similar to the ‘SeeChange’ project in the 26 Counties.

Elisha McCallion said:5

“Sinn Féin TD and National Mental Health spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald this week launched a major Sinn Féin campaign on mental health to coincide with the ‘SeeChange’ Green Ribbon project in the 26 Counties aimed at raising awareness of Mental Health issues.

“I believe that there is a lot we could learn from this campaign that could be applied here in the North also. Mental Health like other health issues knows no borders. The ‘SeeChange’ campaign is designed to remove the stigma surrounding mental health through education, increasing awareness and through the message that it’s OK not to be OK.

“We need to encourage those who have concerns about mental health or suicide to raise these concerns openly and not feel marginalised.

“This encouragement will include meeting, listening to and working with those involved in the mental health sector and campaigning on the issues that they identify.

“Sinn Féin is committed to developing policies and fighting for legislation which will enhance mental health services and reduce suicide. We must be relentless in our aim to promote attitudes and practices which support wellbeing.

 “Sinn Féin in the coming months will be engaged in a series of events, conferences, and the publication of proposals which if adopted will promote wellbeing and help close the glaring gaps in existing mental health services.

“Sinn Féin TDs, Senators, MPs, MEPs, MLAs and councillors will use every forum available to us in the time ahead to demonstrate our support for destigmatising mental health and promote wellbeing throughout Ireland north and south.

“During my term as Mayor of DCSDC I brought together statutory and community agencies to advance proposals for Crisis Intervention Services to address the gap which exists in this constituency for those feeling isolated and in crisis.

“I am pleased that that project is progressing and should be operational in the near future. Mental Health remains one of my priority issues and I will continue to raise its awareness at every opportunity.” CRÍOCH/END