The Belfast Mental Health Rights Group was one of the first groups PPR worked with, and have been together since 2006. Their members have personal or family experience of mental health issues and suicide/self harm. The group led a successful campaign for a ‘Card Before You Leave’ (CBYL) appointments system for mental health patients to ensure those in mental health crisis left Accident and Emergency Departments with a card  bearing the date of their next appointment. This change was put in place across Northern Ireland.

Since 2013, PPR’s work on mental health has grown across Northern Ireland, and we now also work with groups with direct experience of mental health services in Draperstown and Cookstown.

Shout it to the top - campaigning for better mental  health services

Note: This is an edited transcript of an interview with Kirsty Scott and Kathy Gilliland, both of whom are activists with the Mental Health Rights Campaign,  at a meeting in Mindwise on 25 July 2018.  These two women are strong, brave, smart, funny and cheeky!  You will be inspired by what they have to say about their fight for better mental health services for all.


Q: Can you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you became involved in mental health rights campaigning?

#123GP campaigners meet with Health and Social Care Board

Statement from #123GP campaign following their meeting with the Health and Social Care Board in relation to the proposal to increase funding for and access to GP practice based counselling

GPs, counsellors and patients unite in call for increased funding for counselling

In an open letter to the Health and Social Care Board ( HSCB) published today by the #123GP campaign, as it prepares to meet with the Board on 21 Aug 2018,  over 40 organisations and individuals have issued a joint call to the Board  to ensure that funding for counselling is significantly increased in line with need and that access to counselling provision in all GP practices is made available.

Stop pretending things are ok - fund mental health in line with need


If money was no problem we would get all the services we asked for but money seems to come first and it makes me angry”                              

                                                                                                                       Mental health service user

123GP campaigners handed over a petition to the HSCB calling for adequate funding for GP based counselling

123GP campaigners  handed over a petition of over 1800 signatures to the Health and Social Care Board, calling on the Board to adequately fund access to counselling provision via GP practices. Dr. Ian Clements, HSCB Chair accepted the petition on behalf of the Board and indicated that the Board " looked forward to further engagement on this very important issue". Campaigners now look forward to meeting with the Board to progress this issue wtihout delay. 

 “The price of an ice-cream!  #123GP campaign calls for GPs to be properly funded to provide access to counselling for all patients who need it”

The #123GP campaign hand over a petition later today, Thursday 14 June 2018, to the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB), calling on them to immediately address the woefully inadequate funding for in-house provision of counselling in GP practices.  

#123GP wants to hear your experience of accessing mental health care from your GP

The #123GP campaign is gathering the experiences of people who have sought help for their mental health from their GP. A new survey has just been launched -  Read on to find out why and how you can contribute your own experiences or those of your loved ones.

Over 90% of people with a mental health problem will be treated by their GP, but all too often people don't receive the care they need. Sadly this can have serious and at times profound consequences for people's health and well-being.   

At present GPs are not required to undertake any recognised, accredited suicide prevention training. The evaluation of the first Suicide Prevention strategy recognised the need to address this in the Protect Life 2 strategy. However, a target of 50% of GPs trained is not enough - it needs to be all GPs who receive this training to ensure that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need. The #123GP is calling for 100% of GPs to be trained in suicide prevention.

Mental health campaigners have received strong support from the Royal College of GPs NI for their #123GP campaign for better mental health care from GPs

Member groups involved in the #123GP campaign for better mental health expertise among GPs held a campaign workshop in Draperstown on 14 October 2017. The workshop, attended by over 30 people from 7 different member groups, was hosted by STEPS, one of the member groups.  Lynda McEldowney from STEPS reflects on the behind the scenes work involved in making the day a success, as well as the benefits of groups coming together to campaign collectively.


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