The South Belfast MLA stated: “It is highly apt on World Mental Health day that we have a significant step forward for mental well-being in Northern Ireland, with the announcement of the Regional Mental Health Service. It will deliver a voice for people and consistency across services.
“However, with regards to implementation of the overall Mental Health Strategy, the Minister is still acting with one hand behind his back given the absence of an Executive and of a long-term funding guarantee. Without that, there remains considerable uncertainty over what actions can be taken and what support can be offered over the coming years.
“It is imperative, particularly given the impact of the current economic crisis on mental well-being, that we are able to act swiftly to remove all uncertainty and guarantee the timely implementation of the overall Mental Health Strategy. The failure to put an Executive in place demonstrating that the mental well-being of the entire population is an absolute priority issue only serves to undermine much of the good work ongoing.
“We now have a promising Service announced and an excellent Strategy published; it is time all politicians got back to work to ensure that implementation will begin immediately.”