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Community Health Newry

McNulty Calls for Greater Focus on Children’s Mental Health

SDLP Newry & Armagh MLA Justin McNulty has called for a greater focus on children’s mental health following the coronavirus pandemic.  


Mr McNulty, who sits on the Assembly’s Education Committee, was speaking after taking part in the Daily Mile for Children’s Mental Health Week at Stormont on Wednesday.


Newry & Armagh MLA Justin McNulty said:


“It was my pleasure to take part in the Daily Mile for Children’s Mental Health Week at Stormont on Wednesday and I was heartened by the turnout. The energy, enthusiasm and engagement from young and old who participated was heart-warming and proves the positive benefits of physical activity. I completely support the commitment that every child should be able to partake in a Daily Mile at whatever level is possible for them. The positives from the Daily Mile are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual and build a sense of togetherness amongst those who participate as well helping with academic engagement.


“Sadly, our children have suffered as greatly as anyone during the coronavirus pandemic and the true impact of that will not be known for some years to come. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic we need to see a greater awareness and focus around children’s mental health both at school and at home. For much of the pandemic our young people were forced to give up their normal routine, stay indoors and were unable to see their friends and family. Many will have been left feeling confused or annoyed at the situation and it’s important they get the support they need to process their experience as life returns to normal.


“The North is in the midst of a mental health crisis and our children are very much part of that. They are not immune from depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Our health service is in a state of disrepair and our mental health provision is far from what’s needed, but there is hope in the form of the ten-year Mental Health Action Plan. We need to ensure our children and young people are included at the heart of it so that they are not left behind, children will carry their mental health problems with them into adulthood and it’s important we intervene as early as possible to give them the best chance to build resilience and an ability to overcome all challenges with an acceptance that sometimes it is ok not to be ok.”


ENDS

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