Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has hailed the launch of a new mental health pilot programme in West Cork as revolutionary.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking as she officially launched the new Ability programme, developed by the West Cork Development Partnership (WCDP), in Clonakilty last night.
The Ability Programme will work with people suffering from mental health conditions, aged 19 to 29, and develop custom made programmes for each of them to assist them in getting into education, training or work.
“It truly is a revolutionary programme,” she said.
“I was blown away by everything I’ve seen. Not just the programme itself, which is phenomenal, but the team behind it in the WCDP, the people taking part and the huge support it has in the community, evident by the massive crowd that came out for the launch.
“Mental health issues are a silent epidemic in this country, an epidemic that has been allowed to spread by the stigma around talking about it openly and unashamedly.
“Programmes like this are changing that narrative while this programme in particular, the first of it’s kind in Ireland, is going one step further and in developing custom made courses for people is bringing it down to level of the individual.
“At a time when government funding for mental health services is woefully inadequate and the Mental Health Bill, first proposed in 2014, continues to languish in legislative limbo, it’s more important than ever that communities take the lead themselves.
“I would encourage everyone in West Cork to get involved in this programme because whether you realise it or not, someone you care about is experiencing mental health issues.
“And if you’re not in West Cork, get in touch with the incredible team in the WCDP and talk to them about how you can begin to organise something similar in your own community. There isn’t a town or village in Ireland that doesn’t need this programme.”
For more information on the Ability Programme log on to www.wcdp.ie or find them on social media.