Swann announces new Regional Mental Health Service for Northern Ireland

Date published: 10 October 2022

On World Mental Health Day, Health Minister Robin Swann has announced new arrangements for a Regional Mental Health Service in Northern Ireland.

Minister Swann - Latest News

The establishment of the new Service is one of the key enabling actions contained within the Mental Health Strategy published in June 2021.

Minister Swann said: “When I took up the Health portfolio, I was clear that mental health would be one of my top priorities.  The Mental Health Strategy, which I published last year, set out my plans for the reform of mental health services in order to ensure people can get the specialist help and support they need when they need it.”

“On World Mental Health Day, with its theme to ‘make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority’, it is particularly timely that I am able to announce new arrangements to create a Regional Mental Health Service, which has at its core the objective of providing people across Northern Ireland with equitable access to high quality, regionally consistent but locally based mental health services, working across primary and secondary mental healthcare and with the full integration of the community and voluntary sector.”

The Regional Mental Health Service (RMHS), as an integral element of the new Integrated Care System, includes structures and organisational arrangements designed to ensure regional co-ordination and consistency of mental health services and to drive and support locally delivered integrated care. 

This will be led by a fully representative Regional Mental Health Collaborative Board, responsible for leadership and oversight of mental health services development and delivery.  Arrangements for the recruitment process to appoint a Head of the new Collaborative Board are being put in place.

Welcoming the announcement, the Mental Health Champion Professor Siobhan O’Neill said “The creation of a Regional Mental Health Service is one of the most important actions in our Mental Health Strategy, and I warmly welcome today’s announcement. In addition to delivering consistency of access to specialist mental health treatments and services across all parts of Northern Ireland, the new Regional Service encompasses the community and voluntary sector, who have played a key role in the delivery of services across the region.

“The Service also includes mechanisms to ensure that the views of those with lived experience of poor mental health are heard, and that services are co-designed with service users. These key features will be central to the success of the Service in meeting the needs of our population. I look forward to working closely with the Collaborative Board, and engaging with service users and other stakeholders, to monitor the rollout of the Service, and to ensure that the commitments outlined in the model for the Service are delivered in full.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Mental Health Strategy 2021-2031 was launched by the Minister of Health in June 2021 and sets the vision and future strategic direction for mental health services in Northern Ireland over the next decade. Action 31 of the strategy is to, “Develop a regional mental health service, operating across the five HSC Trusts, with regional professional leadership that is responsible for consistency in service delivery and development”.
  2. Within the structures of the RMHS, Trusts and other providers will remain individually accountable for the delivery of their services.  A newly established Regional Mental Health Collaborative Board will be responsible for regional leadership and oversight of mental health services development and delivery.
  3. Further details can be accessed on the Department website.
  4. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email pressoffice@health-ni.gov.uk.
  5. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt
  6. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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