The Department of Health in Northern Ireland has a statutory responsibility to promote a system of health and social care designed to secure improvement in (among other things) the mental health of people in Northern Ireland.
Mental health is a significant issue in Northern Ireland. Mental illness is recognised as one of the four most significant causes of ill health and disability in Northern Ireland alongside cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer. The Northern Ireland Public Health Strategy ‘Making Life Better’ (2014) notes that the prevalence of mental health in Northern Ireland is 25 per cent higher than that in England. Northern Ireland is also recognised as having the highest rate of self-harm in the United Kingdom.
The overall aim of this study is to provide an overview of the scale of mental health issues in Northern Ireland and the structures, systems and services in place to support them. In doing so, we will also consider:
- the adequacy of the Department’s understanding of the level of mental health problems in Northern Ireland and the level of need for support/treatment;
- the level of funding for mental health services;
- key barriers to accessing treatment and how successful the Department has been in addressing them; and
- the effectiveness of mental health services in supporting recovery and improving mental wellbeing.
The review will be focused primarily on adult and children and adolescent mental health services.
We are aiming to publish this report in Winter 2021/22.