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Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland

SDLP East Derry MLA Cara Hunter has raised the need to provide support for older people experiencing loneliness during the Covid-19 crisis with Stormont Health Minister.

The East Derry MLA said that she was disappointed that there is no specific strategy in place but welcomed the work that community and voluntary sector has been doing to help those in need.

Cara Hunter MLA said:

“The Covid-19 crisis has made issues relating to isolation and loneliness even more pronounced, particularly among older people living in more rural communities. That’s why I raised the issue with the Health Minister in the Assembly this week.

“I was disappointed to hear that the Minister has no specific strategy in place to support older people experiencing additional mental health difficulties related to loneliness as a result of the Covid crisis. Older people are more likely to be self isolating and many living alone have spent months with minimal contact from others. Lockdown has been difficult for us all but more vulnerable members of our community need support.

“I want to pay tribute to the work that’s being done by our community and voluntary sector, and particularly by community pharmacies which have been a lifeline for so many. It’s important, however, that we introduce support mechanisms for those who need them. As we look toward recovery from this crisis, we need to evaluate the impact of lockdown on mental health and resilience. I will continue to raise this with the Health Minister.

MIL OSI United Kingdom