30 June 2021
The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Northern Ireland has welcomed the publication of Mental Health Strategy 2021-2031 by the Department of Health. This follows on from the launch of a draft strategy in December 2020.
In his statement to the Assembly, the Health Minister, Robin Swann, said that the strategy “sets a clear direction of travel to support and promote good mental health, provide the right early intervention to prevent serious mental illness, provide the right care and treatment when people need specialist help, and provide new ways of working across mental health services.”
Through the College, members in Northern Ireland have engaged with the Department of Health’s consultation process, using their clinical experience and expertise to inform and shape the development of the strategy and to support co-production efforts. The College submitted an official response to the consultation in March 2021.
Dr Richard Wilson, Chair of RCPsych in NI, said:
“We welcome the publication of this ambitious Mental Health Strategy which recognises that treating mental illness and achieving parity of esteem is one of the greatest challenges facing us today.
"However, understanding the scale of the challenge is one thing. Understanding the scale of the solution is another, which is why we are pleased to see a costed funding plan published alongside the Strategy.
"Without funding, a strategy is simply a vision. To deliver real change for people with mental illness and turn this positive vision into a reality, the Executive must ensure that this much-needed money is delivered."
The College will continue to work closely with the Minister and officials over the coming years around implementation of the Strategy.