Praxis Care along with eight leading charities have come together to call on all the political parties to commit to ring fencing funding for mental health, and providing better leadership on the way forward in the post Bamford era. The charities, which include Action Mental Health; Aware NI; CAUSE; Cruse; MindWise; Nexus NI; Praxis Care; RelateNI and The Rainbow Project have supported the findings of the recent ‘Regress, React, Resolve?’ report produced by Queens University calling for the appointment of a Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland. Last week the Royal College of Psychiatrists also called on the Executive to support the call for a Champion.
In 2011 the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety deemed mental health to be one of the four most significant causes of ill health and disability in Northern Ireland along with cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and cancer (Service Framework for Mental Health and Wellbeing, 2011). Despite this however, over the last six years spending on mental health services has shown a decline in spending of 26% while spending on primary care services has shown an increase of 136% (Queens University Belfast Report, 2015).
The impact of this disparity in funding is stark, as David Babington, Chief Executive of Action Mental Health, explains “the cutbacks to already underfunded mental health facilities has devastated those who deeply rely on them to receive professional help and who are subsequently having to wait longer to receive care due to lack of government funding and support.
Representatives from nine leading mental health charities have come to Stormont today because we desperately need a functioning government to work for mental health and help organisations like ours to provide services for people across the region.”
Together, these nine organisations have identified five key commitments for the next Government which, if implemented, would dramatically improve the lives of those living with mental ill-health and create a fairer and more equal funding platform for mental health services. These include:
- Funding: Ensure sufficient funding is made available for mental health in Northern Ireland to achieve the service improvements envisaged by the Bamford Review AND for Mental Health to be ring-fenced from any future budget cuts.
- Leadership: Ensure a regional working group is set up to examine the extent and impact of mental health service fragmentation, including variations in access to mental health provision between urban/rural areas with the aim of developing greater integration / continuity
- Mental Health Champion: Establish an authoritative and independent Champion for Mental Health, to promote the rights and interests of people with mental health problems and ensure services continue to be developed effectively to meet the needs of service users / carers
- Stigma: Ensure a multi-agency objective to reduce the stigma associated with mental ill-health and promotion of positive mental health as a key component of the public health agenda, with a particular focus / resource placed in education programmes for schools
- Recovery Led, Person-Centred Services: Commissioners of mental health services and professional staff in all sectors should continue to strive to promote a recovery led, person-centred (service user involvement) and relationship-based approach to service delivery.
Without these commitments met, mental health service provision falls short of the Bamford Vision for future service delivery, falls short of the expectations of voluntary and community organisations providing support, and ultimately falls short of those currently suffering from mental ill-health in Northern Ireland, an estimated 20% of the population (Chief Medical Officer, 2010).
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
For further information or comment, please contact Caroline McCoubrey, Together For You Communications Officer on 028 9032 9150 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To organise an interview with Praxis Care service user or staff or to request further information on the work of Praxis Care, contact Paul Collins Assistant Director – Communications 028 90 234 555 / 07712189675 or email@example.com
Spokesperson: David Babington, Chief Executive, Action Mental Health
Photocaption 1: Nine leading charities call on the next NI Executive to make five important commitments to ensure fair and equal treatment for those living with mental ill-health. From left to right <back row> Fiona Scullion, MindWise, Siobhan Doherty, Aware NI; Dave Murphy, RelateNI, Siobhan McHaffie, Cruse Bereavement Care; Helena Bracken, Nexus NI; <Front Row>: Maire Grattan, CAUSE; David Babington, Action Mental Health; Paul Collins, Praxis Care.
Photocaption2: Nine leading charities call on the next NI Executive to make five important commitments to ensure fair and equal treatment for those living with mental ill-health. From left to right <back row> Helena Bracken, Nexus NI, Siobhan McHaffie, Cruse Bereavement Care, Dave Murphy, Relate NI, Siobhan Doherty, Aware NI, Fiona Scullion, MindWise; <Front Row –L to R> Paul Collins, Praxis Care; David Babington, Action Mental Health; Maire Grattan, CAUSE;
Chief Medical Officer (2010) Your Health Matters. The Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland 2010, Belfast: Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (2011) Service Framework for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Belfast: Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.
Queens University Belfast (2015) Regress?, React?, Resolve? An evaluation of mental health service provision in Northern Ireland, Belfast: Report by Queens University Belfast for Action Mental Health.
Praxis Care is a charity empowering adults and children with mental ill health, learning disability, or acquired brain injury to enjoy everyday living, irrespective of the complexity of their needs. Praxis Care provides a range of accommodation and support services for nearly 1,500 people in 80 separate locations.
Services are provided across Northern Ireland, England, the Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man
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