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Stormont Assembly Budget

Fri, 31 - May - 2024

MindWise acknowledges the significance of the Northern Ireland Assembly passing its first budget in three years.

Despite this progress there remain significant concerns in the community and voluntary sector around how much of the funding announced within the budget will be allocated to ensuring the comprehensive implementation of the Department of Health’s Ten-Year Mental Health Strategy. We have already seen the previous Minister, Robin Swann, oppose the budget.

We are now three years into the life cycle of the Mental Health Strategy, and we are appealing to ministers to plan collaboratively and strategically around tackling the mental health crisis.

We recognise the huge portfolio that awaits the new Minister of Health, Mike Nesbitt. In the context of the current budget and pressures on spending we believe more strongly than ever that each department needs to urgently consider how it can play a part in driving forward the Mental Health Strategy thereby taking a share of the responsibility for creating a mentally healthy society.

In Northern Ireland we have a Mental Health Champion, and we have a Mental Health Strategy. To support this positive framework and make it work in the day-to-day lives of people we need a commitment from Executive ministers that mental health considerations will be taken in all new policy development and that funding will be allocated based on evidence and need to ensure a sustainable future where people in Northern Ireland enjoy better mental health outcomes.

MindWise wants to see strategic and structural change that will be led by responsible and authoritative cross-department cooperation and work on allocating resources.

Government needs to be more creative in the fight against poor mental health, that’s why by the end of the current mandate MindWise want to see:

  • · The meaningful integration of community and voluntary sector expertise into a delivery model for the Mental Health Strategy
  • · Mental health policy-testing across all Executive departments
  • · Visibly increased department funding for mental health programmes working toward centralised and coordinated goals and outcomes, thereby relieving the existing burden on the Department of Health
  • · A joined-up and strategic approach to mental health that removes silos and ensures that people can access the specific support they need to help mental health and wellbeing
  • · An annual Executive working group report highlighting and measuring progress in mental health initiatives across departments which is accessible and communicable to the public

As a charity our vision is a world where mental health and wellbeing is everyone’s business therefore we strongly believe that mental health should be every government department’s responsibility.

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