Date: 27/03/2013

Press Release – BELFAST IN NEED OF CONFIDENCE BOOST: March 27, 2013

Belfast is a city much in need of a confidence boost says research launched today. The figures, shaped exclusively by the people of Belfast in their responses to a survey, show that confidence is key to people feeling better about themselves.

Almost half of respondents (48.2 %) also said that lower levels of anti social behaviour would help improve their quality of life. The findings of the ‘Have your Say Belfast’ emotional health and wellbeing survey will be unveiled in full today at the Cathy Short Theatre in Jennymount Industrial Estate, North Derby Street, Belfast.

More than 3,000 people responded to the survey that was conducted by Belfast Strategic Partnership (BSP). The findings highlight the importance of family, friendship and relationships to positive emotional wellbeing. They show that those who are in touch with friends and family on a regular basis experience more positive health and wellbeing. More than half of those consulted said that family, love and company were the main factors in promoting their positive wellbeing. The research showed that those who ‘didn’t bother’ to connect with friends and family were three times more likely to have received treatment for anxiety or depression than those who connected to their friends and family on a daily basis.
The ‘Have Your Say Belfast’ survey also showed differences in emotional health and wellbeing between those living in deprived and non-deprived areas, those who had a disability and those who identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual with all three groupings experiencing poorer levels of emotional wellbeing.

The research also showed that while people felt that Belfast as a city has improved over the past three years, fewer people felt that the community in which they lived reflected these improvements.

Irene Sherry, Co-chair of the BSP’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing Group commented, “This research is really important to enable us to understand the issues that affect people’s emotional health and wellbeing, and the coping mechanisms they put in place to deal with the ups and downs of everyday life. We know that there are significant life inequalities throughout the Belfast area, however this research gives us detailed evidence on the issues that determine whether people experience positive or negative emotional health and wellbeing. This gives us a significant mandate to design and commission services to help people build resilience, based on the expressed needs and aspirations of real people living in communities throughout the Belfast area.”
The Emotional Health and Wellbeing thematic-group of Belfast Strategic Partnership will use the research to develop an action plan for building emotional resilience which will have the full support of the main statutory, community/and voluntary sectors throughout the city.

Notes to Editor:

  • The BSP was established in February 2011 by the Public Health Agency (PHA), Belfast City Council (BCC) and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT), with support from the Belfast Health Development Unit (BHDU), to address the significant levels of inequality across the Belfast area.

•    The BSP is made up of senior representatives from the community, voluntary, statutory and private sectors

•         BHDU plays a supporting role to the BSP and is made up of staff from each of the lead organisations (PHA, BCC, BHSTC) working together in a single team

  • BSP has undertaken a wide engagement process to create a Framework for Action to enable the work of stakeholders to focus on a number of key priority areas that will make a difference to people’s lives.
  • Belfast Health Development Unit directly and exclusively supports the Partnership to deliver on the Framework for Action and in delivering Annual Action Plans, which are being developed for each of the priority areas to ensure that efforts and resources make an impact.
  • Vision

“Our vision is a Belfast and Greater Belfast area in which all of our people and communities can share the same expectations and access of the opportunities, resources and confidence to live longer, healthier lives.”

  • Mission

“Our mission is to reduce health inequalities and to improve the health and wellbeing of the people in Belfast through proactive cooperation and collaboration with all key stakeholders and by harnessing the enthusiasm, efficiency and experience of all those parties who share the same visions.”