Mental Health Champion urges politicians to increase funding to mental health now to stop the ‘firefighting’

Following the Northern Ireland Assembly Election, Professor Siobhán O’Neill, has written to all the newly elected MLAs to highlight the urgent need to increase funding for mental health services.

Professor O’Neill stresses in her letter (below) that a surge in demand for mental helath services has led to a situation where services are “firefighting” to support people in crisis, and that many people are only receiving help “when their mental health has deteriorated to the point where they are seriously ill”.

At a time when mental health is a top concern for members of the public, urgent action needs to be taken to address the shortfall in the Mental Health budget, to avoid a further increase the numbers with serious mental illnesses.

The Mental Health Strategy, published by the Department of Health a year ago, details the necessary improvements needed in Northern Ireland. The Strategy includes early intervention and prevention actions designed to provide support at an earlier stage before a person reaches the point of crisis. 

Politicians committing to the fully funding and implementation of the Strategy, “will help secure a happier and healthier Northern Ireland, not only for those who suffer right now, but for future generations,” emphasises Professor O’Neill.   

Read the full letter here.