The Role of the Mental Health Champion

The overall purpose of the Mental Health Champion is to further the mental health agenda across Northern Ireland, to promote emotional health and wellbeing, access evidence based support and services, and promote recovery.

The Mental Health Champion role is fully supported by the NI Executive, which is committed to improving the mental health of everyone throughout all aspects of life. As a signal of the collaborative will for the role to succeed, funding has been secured on a cross-departmental basis.

The Mental Health Champion will:

  • Take part in the public debate around psychological wellbeing, mental health and suicide and will champion these issues to improve the experience of people experiencing mental ill health or who have experience of mental ill health;
  • Have a person-centred focus, understand the experience of people with lived experience and be a voice for those otherwise voiceless in the development of policy and services;
  • Take part in policy development across the whole of Government in areas around psychological wellbeing, mental health and suicide. The Champion will also challenge decisions where it is appropriate to do so;  and
  • Engage with people with lived experience and others, acting as a focal point for the discussion around wellbeing, mental health and suicide.

The role of the Mental Health Champion is to help to integrate a mental health friendly ethos across all policies and services developed and delivered by the NI Executive. This includes enhancing the level of collaborative working across Government in relation to psychological wellbeing, mental health, suicide and recovery. The role is also to be a voice for people with lived experience; those who are often not heard in the public debate. They will also champion and enhance mental health in all aspects of public life. This includes proactively seeking to increase the visibility of the role across Government departments in this work.

The Mental Health Champion will be:

  • A public advocate for mental health

The Champion will be a public advocate for mental health, communicating the collective voices of people with lived experience, their families and carers, and communities impacted by mental health inequalities.

  • A Government advocate to help and support government Departments & officials

The Champion will support the day-to-day functions of Government and act as a positive conduit between Government and service delivery.

  • A consensus builder to integrate mental health and wellbeing across Government

The Champion will work across Government and the independent sector, to help the integration of mental health considerations into all policies.

  • An adviser to senior stakeholders and a constructive challenger of decisions and policies

The Champion will work together with Government and others to further mental health and to be a positive voice. The Champion will also provide constructive challenge and a critical voice in the public debate.

  • A network hub for the development of positive mental health across Northern Ireland

The Champion will promote, through a network hub, meaningful contact between people with a role in progressing mental health in Northern Ireland. This will include accessing leaders across the UK and internationally in wider strategic developments.