Policy Forum for Northern Ireland

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Next steps for mental health policy in Northern Ireland - delivery plan | enhancing data-use | provision of community services | CAMHS provision | workforce support | early intervention

January 2024

Price: £150 PLUS VAT

This conference discussed next steps for mental health services in Northern Ireland.

It was an opportunity for discussion on:

  • the progress of the Mental Health Strategy 2021-2031
  • the recently published Delivery Plan for 2023/2024
  • the Mental Health Services in Northern Ireland report from the NI Audit Office, which indicated:

    • the highest prevalence of mental ill-health in the UK
    • the lowest level of funding, and with demand for services rising

Sessions in the agenda assessed the way forward for improving mental health services, looking at key areas for development, including enhancing mental health data and provision of community services, improving crisis and addiction services, and addressing waiting times to enable access to services.

We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with: Peter May, Permanent Secretary, Department of Health; Professor Siobhan O’Neill, Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland; and Professor of Mental Health Sciences, Ulster University; and Matthew Taylor, ‘Co-Founder of UK’s first youth-led mental health charity’.

Overall, areas for discussion included:

  • accessibility: addressing high waiting times for services - streamlining funding where it is most needed - developing infrastructure to enable service improvement
  • key workforce concerns: addressing issues within the psychiatry and psychotherapy disciplines - addressing key barriers to recruitment and retention - providing adequate workplace support
  • suicide prevention and crisis services: looking beyond the Protect Life 2 strategy - assessing priorities for crisis services beyond 2024
  • moving towards prevention: priorities for an early intervention model - promoting help-seeking behaviour - improving advocacy and dialogue
  • improving mental health data: improving data collection and utilisation to enhance service provision - considering the potential of an electronic patient records system 
  • CAMHS: developing in-school services - priorities for SEN students - improving access - developing efficient pathways to adult services
  • community-based services: enhancing community cohesion and wellbeing - mental health education and awareness - moving care outside of clinical settings
  • legacy issues: strategies for understanding and addressing the impact of the Troubles, COVID-19 and wider generational trauma on mental health in NI - increasing awareness and support
  • student mental health: improving mental health support for higher education students - assessing the findings of the Higher Education Mental Health Implementation TaskForce

The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the Department for the Economy; Department of Education; DHSC; DoH; DOJ; ETI; NI Assembly and the Welsh Government.

This on-demand pack includes

  • A full video recording of the conference as it took place, with all presentations, Q&A sessions, and remarks from chairs
  • An automated transcript of the conference
  • Copies of the slides used to accompany speaker presentations (subject to permission
  • Access to on-the-day materialfs, including speaker biographies, attendee lists and the agenda