Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson and party colleague Robbie Butler MLA recently visited the Bluestone Unit at Craigavon Area Hospital to meet with staff and patients.
The visit to the purpose-built mental health facility, included a meeting with Trust chief executive Francis Rice and Board chairperson Roberta Brownlee,
Mrs Dobson said: “It’s a sad fact that poor mental health affects one in four of us and I know many local families who have a loved one receiving dedicated support and care.
“That’s why I wanted to take the time to visit the Bluestone Unit at Craigavon Hospital, to tour their modern facilities and to discuss the services provided to local patients,” she added.
“I commend all the staff at the Bluestone Unit for all the services they are providing to people with a mental illness or a learning disability.”
Mrs Dobson, who is the Ulster Unionist health spokesperson, continued: “I commend the staff on their continued work with some of the most vulnerable people in our community and I commit to continue to seek greater support and emphasis coming from Government on tackling an intergenerational problem which is undeniably linked to our thirty years of violence.”
The meeting came the day after both MLA’s successfully passed a motion at the Assembly advocating a Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland.
Mr Butler, Lagan Valley MLA and party Mental Health Spokesperson said: “It’s truly shocking that in Northern Ireland we are faced with mental health levels that are comparable to the worst affected areas of the world.
“When it comes to poor mental health everyone in society can be affected, whether young or old, wealthy or poor, physically healthy or not: it is an invisible epidemic affecting families right across Northern Ireland.
“The sheer scale of the problem has been reinforced to me in the time since I took up the role as my Party’s spokesperson for Mental Health and I commend the staff at the Bluestone Unit on the ongoing work they are doing in a modern, open and bright facility.
“Jo-Anne and I advocated at the Assembly that appointing an individual to specifically uphold the interests of people with poor mental health would send out a very clear signal to the thousands who suffer, often in silence, that the Government in Northern Ireland, is at last serious about tackling the issue.
“Working together at Stormont we will keep the pressure on the Executive to deliver even better services for those who need it the most, both now and in the future,” he said.