The Commissioner's response to the Health Minister’s announcement on a Regional Mental Health Service for Northern Ireland

11 October 2022

Announcement of a Regional Mental Health Service for Northern Ireland:

“I welcome the Health Minister’s announcement on the launch of a Regional Mental Health Service for Northern Ireland on 10 October 2022, World Mental Health Day.

I look forward to seeing progress made on the establishment of the new framework which will allow those with lived experience of mental health problems to contribute to the improvement of services.

The voices of those who have had adverse experiences in childhood, which have life affecting consequences, need to be listened to, understood and incorporated into mental health service delivery models.

As Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse I particularly welcome the news that a more systematic approach will be co-ordinated and delivered locally, close to peoples’ homes and in their own communities, and that Mental Health Services for Older People will link in as part of the arrangements for a regional mental health service supporting an overall life span approach.

Survivors have told me of problems in accessing appropriate care and services for mental health. Waiting times for appointments and necessary treatments are too long and cannot be allowed to be accepted. I have written to the Health Minister and to health service representatives to raise awareness of survivor needs and to advocate for urgent improvements to access and care.

I want to ensure that survivors, their supporters and services providers are offered the chance to get involved in these models to lead to improved responsiveness and better outcomes for those with urgent mental health needs.”

You can view Minister Swann's statement here.