Community Foundation puts vital issues of mental health and education under the microscope

Community Foundation puts vital issues of mental health and education under the microscope

The Community Foundation plans to take an in depth look over the next few months at how communities are managing when it comes to key issues around mental health and education.

Northern Ireland’s post-traumatic stress disorder rates, access to perinatal mental health support and opportunities for community and lifelong learning are just some of the issues the Foundation will be focusing on in its annual ‘Vital Signs’ survey with findings due to be released in the Autumn.

In 2016, the Community Foundation’s Vital Signs research, which looked at quality of life in Northern Ireland across ten key themes, uncovered the extent of the damage being done to local communities as austerity bites. It painted a stark picture of the poverty facing many people and the impact it is having on their lives. 

People all across Northern Ireland are now being encouraged to take part in a survey which will help build the bigger picture around issues.

Speaking as the survey was launched, Andrew McCracken Community Foundation CEO said: “This survey provides us with a fantastic opportunity to find out how communities feel about the issues that affect their everyday lives. We want to help make Northern Ireland a better place to live and work.

“Health & Wellbeing and Education & Skills, alongside poverty, were ranked in 2016 as the issues that worried people most. Many of last year’s statistics were quite startling; we know that in Northern Ireland 80% of women do not have access to specialist perinatal mental health support. We also have the world’s highest rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and when it comes to education, 1 in 5 students here struggle with more than basic reading, writing and maths.

Andrew continued: “We’re grateful in advance for the great response we know we’re going to get from communities to our ‘Vital Signs’ survey. One of our key aims is to connect donors and other funders with the causes that matter most to people living here. Through listening to communities, this research really helps us build a picture of where funding is most needed. It enables us to guide philanthropists to help fund those areas as well as to mobilise communities to take action on the most pressing issues,” said Andrew.

All survey participants will be entered into a draw to receive £1000 to give to a cause, charity or towards the delivery of a project of their choosing. To take the survey, visit

Communities can participate in a number of other ways including:

  • Host a focus group in your area - contact us and we will do the rest

  • Send us a short story -Tell us about the issues that affect you

  • Invite us out to see the work happening in your area - We want to see what makes your area great

To contact us about Vital Signs, please call Sara Houston on 02890 245027 or email [email protected] and keep up to date with the latest Vital Signs news via Facebook: Community Foundation for Northern Ireland and twitter: @CFNIreland 

Last updated 5 months 3 weeks ago by Laura Darragh