Sinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has called on the Government to introduce a detailed road map for mental health services during the impending period of tighter Covid19 restrictions.
The Regional Health Forum member has called for a detailed plan to be put in place so people can get the mental health supports “where and when they need it”.
“The impending tightening of restrictions have increased people’s fears, worries and anxiety. There needs to be a very clear message from Government on exactly what these new restrictions will be. We have had another weekend of commentary and speculation, but people now just need clarity.
“I am calling for a clear detailed plan for mental health, which would act as a road map for mental health services during Covid restrictions. As the restrictions tighten it must be in tune with the easing of access to mental health supports.
“The Government missed an opportunity during the budget to outline their plans for mental health during Covid. They did announce additional resources for mental health, but with very little detail included.
“What we need now is a detailed plan so people can get the help when and where they need it.
“Restrictions at the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic resulted in the closure of services people relied on for their well being such as gyms, hairdressers, barbers, massage therapists and other complimentary therapists.
“It also led to isolation for those living alone like the elderly, single parents, carers of adult children with disabilities and single people. Sinn Féin asked Minister Butler last week to consider a ‘support bubble’ so people who are in danger of becoming isolated could become part of another person’s family during restrictions, while remaining in their own home.
“In Sinn Féin’s alternative budget, we called for an immediate investment in 24/7 crisis emergency mental health services and universal free counselling on GP referral. These two measures would allow people to get that much needed help where and when they need it.
“The time for announcements to grab cheap headlines is over. People deserve substance right now and a clear message from Government that they are taking mental health concerns seriously.”