Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has said the mental health of all young people must be valued.
Speaking on World Mental Health Day, the party’s Health spokesperson said:
“Mental health affects everyone in society, particularly here in the north, mental illness is the largest single cause of ill health.
“Anxiety, depression and suicide, can affect anyone and feelings of stigma and isolation often stop people reaching out for the treatment they need.
“The sad reality of our society is that many people, young and old, find themselves living under great pressures which can have a negative impact on their mental health.
“The theme of World Mental Health Day this year is young people and their mental health. Just recently we have seen youth mental health placed on the agenda with the launch of the ‘Still Waiting’ report and the ‘Elephant in the Room’ report.
“In March this year we had over 1,050 young people waiting to access CAMHS services. We know that the true figure to be much higher for those with a mental ill health problem.
“Over half of these problems can be identified by the age of 14 and with suicide, self-harm and substance abuse numbers steadily rising, prevention and early intervention is key.
“Our LGBTQ+ youth often are left feeling anxious, scared and persecuted. There is clear evidence that social intolerance is a contributing factor to higher rates of mental ill health among different sections of our young people.
“The mental health of all young people must be valued and now more than ever young people need to know they are not alone. It’s time to end the stigma and silence.”