Approval for plans for a new community mental health centre in North Belfast will provide new support for those in the area coping with mental health issues, a local community group has said.

The Belfast Trust was recently granted approval for the redevelopment of Old See House on the Antrim Road to turn the site into a Community Mental Health Resource Centre.

The building will have a consulting facility where outpatients will have appointments to see a psychiatric consultant. It will house a day centre which patients are encouraged to attend for a whole or half day to engage in various forms of therapy.

There will also be an eight bedroom short-stay residential section, designed to be an alternative to residence within an acute hospital, where patients might go for a night or maybe up to two weeks respite.

Brian Mullan from the Mater Hospital Community Forum, who campaigned for the facility, said it’s very welcome news for North Belfast, which has the highest suicide rate in the North.

“When the facility is ready it will be a wonderful addition to help with the community’s mental health,” he said,

“It will be there to work alongside the Mater Hospital and make sure that patients who need it are being looked after. It will bring specialist staff under one roof and will really be a great boost to the community.”

A spokeswoman for the Belfast Trust confirmed their proposals have been approved.

“We have received approval for the redevelopment of the Old See House site as an Integrated Community Mental Health Resource Centre,” she said,

“This redevelopment will enable us to provide purpose-built, modern accommodation for Mental Health Outpatient Clinics, Acute Day Treatment Services, Belfast Home Treatment Beds and Community Mental Health Teams.”