Epilepsy Action Northern Ireland met Stormont’s All Party Group (APG) on Neurology this week to discuss mental health support for young people living with neurological conditions.
The Northern Irish mental health champion, Professor Siobhan O’Neill, members of the Legislative Assembly and a number of Department of Health officials attended the event.
The APG meeting followed a call from Professor O’Neill to hear about the lived experiences of young people and their parents and carers.
Epilepsy Action, along with other charities, arranged for a number of young people and their parents to attend and share their stories with the APG.
The charities made seven key asks of APG members, who agreed to write to a number of departments. These included the following recommendations from Epilepsy Action:
- Additional training for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service staff around neurological conditions and the removal of system blockages to ensure that young people with neurological conditions can access timely mental health support.
- Improved communication channels between neurological and mental health services and consistent monitoring to ensure that no young person is being denied support.
- A replication of psychological support available for young people with long-term health conditions in the Northern and Southern Trusts – with joint epilepsy and paediatric psychology clinics and projects.
Epilepsy Action Northern Ireland’s policy and campaigns officer Jack Morgan said: “Today was an opportunity for the mental health champion to hear directly from young people. Speakers shared powerful stories that covered how their neurological condition can affect their mental health.”
“Attendees also heard about the difficulty young people with neurological conditions face when trying to access mental health services.”