The importance of delivering bespoke community-mental health services in Ballymoney was underlined at a questions and answers session held this week at the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health (NIAMH) day-support centre in Woodvale.
The question and answers session took place during a visit to the centre by NIAMH Chief Executive Peter McBride who met with service users and staff.
During the visit, Peter outlined the importance of providing tailored mental health services to people living in Ballymoney. In addition, the challenges facing those experiencing mental health issues who are on benefits given upcoming welfare reform were also discussed.
Speaking at the event, Peter McBride said: “The Department of Health’s ‘Transforming your Care’ policy will see an increased level of services provided directly in the community and by voluntary sector organisations such as NIAMH. It is important that this has a positive impact on local communities and in particular community members who experience mental ill-health, their families and supporters. I am in Ballymoney to hear at first hand the views of those whom these changes will affect.
“In addition, it is critically important that we all develop an understanding of the effect that the welfare reform changes, which will be discussed in the Assembly during the autumn, will have. It is important that welfare support is not removed from those who need it as a safety net when they are unable to work due to ill-health,” he added.
“As well as my visit to Ballymoney today, I will be visiting centres across Northern Ireland to gain a broad understanding of these issues right across Northern Ireland.”
Woodvale Centre Manager Pat Hamilton said: “An increased focus on the provision of care directly in the community means we have an opportunity to provide tailor-made services for those who need us. Everyone in our service has an individual support plan to help them to recover their mental health. Our centre here at Woodvale works to make people feel safe and supported and it is vital that services like ours continue to be provided in the local community.”