Ministers must close the gap when it comes to funding for mental health services - the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Northern Ireland said today.
The call comes as a new LucidTalk poll of more than 3,000 people from across Northern Ireland revealed 82% of over 25s think there should be more funding for mental health services.
While 91% of those aged between 18-24 thought there should be more funding.
The poll also showed eight in ten (84%) people think there will be an increase in demand for mental health services in the next year.
Recently, the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) said there will be up to 32% more new referrals to mental health services over the next three years.
The new data coincides with RCPsych NI launching its own manifesto ahead of the Northern Ireland Assembly election in May.
Dr Richard Wilson, chair of RCPsych NI, said:
“We’ve welcomed the focus of all parties on mental health and the publication of the 10-year Mental Health Strategy, but we still need to close the gap between funding for mental and physical health.
“The poll clearly shows people think that the need for mental health services will increase and funding should be focused on delivering these, particularly as we recover from a pandemic. The simple fact is, without funding the Mental Health Strategy will remain just a vision.
“As we launch our manifesto, we’re appealing to all political parties to ensure they continue to build on the momentum already started to deliver real change.”
RCPsych NI’s manifesto is calling for every person with a mental illness to have access to services on an equal basis.
To achieve this, the College is appealing to all political parties to look at equity of funding, parity between mental and physical health - along with strong community connections.