Removal of ESF funds has 'catastrophic implications' for people's mental health in NI, says Mental Health Champion

Today Action Mental Health, Chief Executive, David Babbington, warned that the removal of the European Social Fund early year will significantly impact on services and support for thousands of people with mental health challenges.

David Babbington said his organisation is one of over 50 groups due to be impacted by the loss of European Social Fund money in March next year.

Mr Babbington said: “We’ve got no sense of who could come to the rescue in terms of this funding. We are very much working in the dark.

“I’m speaking on behalf of the other 51 organisations as well, the 1,600 staff who are at risk but also the over 16,000 people who are in those services as well. What do they do? What’s going to happen to them at the end of this funding?

“These people would be on waiting lists, clogging up the health sector and presumably getting worse.

“We’re profoundly concerned about the safety of our clients.”

10 Action Mental Health hubs and hundreds of jobs are funded by over £2m of ESF funds.

Speaking out in support of Action Mental Health warning is Professor Siobhan O'Neill, Mental Health Champion:

The ESF funds the delivery of vital support and employment services for thousands of people with disabilities including people with mental health difficulties. The removal of this funding early next year, at a time when services are also coping with the challenges of the cost-of-living crisis, is unconscionable. It will lead to a cliff edge, with catastrophic implications for people who live with mental illness across Northern Ireland. It is vital that our political representatives work to secure full replacement of the ESF for Northern Ireland’s most vulnerable individuals. 

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