Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “Mental health conditions affect a considerable number of people in our society, with around one in four people facing such issues at some stage in their lives. Not least given the legacy of the Troubles, mental health conditions are more prevalent in Northern Ireland than in our neighbouring jurisdictions.
“Despite this, mental health remains the poorer relation within the health system. A lower share of health spending goes on mental health in general compared to other regions, with some particular aspects such as psychological therapies suffering more. Other interventions, such as combating stigma and placing mental health at the core of public health interventions, are also essential.
“Through placing a greater priority on assisting those with mental health conditions, not only can we improve the lives of many people, but we will assist our public finances, our economy and society as a whole. For example, through a stronger focus on mental health we will help to address some physical conditions such as obesity and also better assist people to find work and to sustain employment.”