70 per cent of adults in Northern Ireland have experienced a mental health problem in last twelve months

Assembly election candidates are urged to commit to publishing a prevention and early intervention mental health action plan within the first year.

The Mental Health Foundation is calling on all candidates for the Northern Ireland Assembly to commit to preventing poor mental health as a new poll reveals 70 per cent of adults in Northern Ireland say they have experienced at least one mental health problem in the last twelve months1.

The charity, whose recent report with the London School of Economics and Political Science has revealed that diagnosable mental health problems cost the Northern Irish economy £3.4 billion, It's urging all those hoping to gain a seat at Stormont to make a commitment to publishing a prevention and early intervention mental health action plan within the first year of the new Assembly.

The mental Health Foundation's Delivering Good Mental for All manifesto outlines five action points for the new Assembly that will help prevent poor mental health.

The Mental Health Foundation’s newly appointed Head of Northern Ireland, Karen Hall, said: “Too many people are experiencing mental distress that could be prevented. In our poll conducted in February and March this year, 70 per cent of adults in Northern Ireland say they have experienced a mental health problem in the last 12 months.  We know that the pandemic has taken its toll on mental wellbeing and the current cost of living crisis is likely to further exasperate existing inequalities. We urge Assembly candidates to commit to delivering a prevention and early intervention mental health action plan within the first year of the new Assembly.  We must focus our efforts on tackling the root causes of poor mental health so we can prevent problems from arising or worsening rather than only focusing on treatment. We cannot afford the spiralling costs to people’s wellbeing or to our economy that would arise from delay.”

The Mental Health Foundation’s manifesto has been issued to Assembly candidates and parties. It urges them to commit to delivering good mental health for all by focusing on tackling the root causes of poor mental health, including poverty and inequality.  The charity is calling on candidates to sign a pledge on its website with a public declaration of their commitment.

Five Actions to Support Better Mental Health For All – Mental Health Foundation Northern Ireland Manifesto 2022

  1. Deliver a prevention and early intervention mental health action plan within 12 months
  2. Reduce the mental health effects of social and economic inequalities, building a mental health lens into strategies to reduce poverty and social exclusion
  3. Create a Communities Health and Wellbeing Fund to support good mental health
  4. Upskill teachers and school staff to provide appropriate mental health and wellbeing support
  5. Every at-risk child or adolescent should have access to a mentoring programme
Karen added: “Mental health problems of all kinds can be prevented. Our manifesto outlines actions needed to empower people, families and communities to live well by building a society that promotes good mental health and wellbeing for all. We encourage all candidates to sign our pledge, commit to tackling the root causes of poor mental health, and support the people of Northern Ireland to live well with good mental health.”

Ends

Notes to editors

1 Online survey was conducted by Opinium on behalf of The Mental Health Foundation between 23 February – 7 March 2022. Sample of 989 NI residents (18+), weighted to be nationally representative of the population of Northern Ireland. Respondents were asked the question ‘Thinking about the last twelve months, have you experienced any of the following? Please select all that apply.’ In response, 70% said they had experienced at least one mental health problem.

About the Mental Health Foundation

Our vision is for good mental health for all.

  • The Mental Health Foundation works to prevent mental health problems

  • We drive change towards a mentally healthy society for all, and support communities, families and individuals to lead mentally healthy lives with a particular focus on those at greatest risk

www.mentalhealth.org.uk