New charter tackles high suicide and mental health rates among Irish community
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New charter tackles high suicide and mental health rates among Irish community

A NEW initiative designed to protect the mental health and wellbeing of the Irish community in Britain has been launched as the coronavirus crisis poses long-term effects for those it leaves behind.

Published this week, the Irish in Britain (IIB) organisation’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter outlines the organisation’s commitment to “leading a cohesive community response to evidence of high rates of suicide and common mental health issues among the Irish population in Britain”.

It also aims to create an “Irish community alliance” which would bring partner organisations together to “promote positive mental health and wellbeing for staff, volunteers and the communities they serve”.

Marie Dillon, IIB’s Health Development Officer, explained: “In the current climate, protecting our mental health and wellbeing is of heightened importance, with the psychological and social impacts likely to have long-term consequences for individuals and communities.”

She added: “To accommodate for social distancing restrictions, we have scheduled a number of online mental health and wellbeing trainings for our member organisations and community partners. And there are resources available on the website to support our members and the wider community during this time.”

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Work on the project - which was due to be officially launched in Westminster in March, before the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus restrictions – began a year ago.

In that time IIB has teamed up with various organisations and consultants, including Mental Health First Aid England, to facilitate training for its member organisations and community partners.

Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive at the Centre for Mental Health, said: “What’s really important about this charter is that mental health affects all communities and all people, and some communities are more vulnerable than others. I’m really pleased to be supporting Irish in Britain.”

To find out more about the Charter, training options, resources or how your organisation can get involved, contact Marie Dillon on [email protected] or click here.