Action Mental Health welcomes the fact that mental health has been identified as a specific area of focus within the New Decade, New Approach document. We do however have concerns that the commitments remain vague.
Northern Ireland already has a draft Mental Health Action Plan that is resource neutral and is focused on bringing together decisions, already taken. The draft Action Plan has a target for a 10 year Mental Health Strategy, but this in itself needs resources to develop it, aside from the funds needed to adequately deliver it in a way that creates meaningful change to mental health services across Northern Ireland.
It is also vital that funds are secured to deliver the recently published Protect Life 2 strategy for Suicide Prevention.
We repeat our call for a Mental Health Champion to be put in place, someone with the relevant skills, experience and most importantly powers to ensure that we achieve parity for mental health in Northern Ireland.
As always the detail will be key, however we implore our local parties to get back into Government so that we can start taking these vital discussions forward and make real and meaningful improvements to mental health services for the people who need them most.