Gray: Good mental health should never be taken for granted

Mid and East Antrim Council is to assess how best it can provide mental health and wellbeing support, after a proposal put forward by Alliance Councillor Lauren Gray received unanimous support.

Speaking at Monday night’s full Council meeting, the Carrickfergus representative urged the Council to act now to address the growing mental health pandemic, adding the move could save lives in the weeks and months ahead.

Lauren said: “Good mental health is precious and something none of us should take for granted. Sadly Covid-19 will leave a lasting impact long after the initial physical health threat has left us – from those with past struggles, to those whose recovery has been hampered by the current situation, or those who have no expectation that the battle of their lives could be just around the corner.

“Lockdown, long period of restrictions and the uncertainty of what we’ll face in the months and weeks ahead, especially in the run up to Christmas, have been hard for so many people and while as Council a lot of work in this area has already begun, now is the time to pull it together, to reach out into the community and to assess what we can do to fill the gaps in service provision felt by many.

“From those living alone, single parent households, the current restrictions on maternity services, the elderly and everyone else facing unemployment, financial hardship or feeling affected for any reason we need to recognise the feeling of hopelessness many will sadly feel and work together to ensure we do all we can to offer positive mental health and wellbeing support across our borough.

“I’m glad my Council colleagues from all parties could support this idea, clearing the way for a mental health recovery strategy, placing the same priority on mental health as we are assessing all other aspects of our recovery.”