The UK Government committed £2 billion over five years to facilitate NDNA commitments, which includes around £245m to support the transformation of public services and £140m to address Northern Ireland’s unique challenges. The UK Government has also guaranteed a further £2.4billion in additional funding in response to Covid-19.
The allocation of funding for public services, including the prioritisation of physical and mental health services is a devolved matter, within the competence of the Northern Ireland Executive.
Given the serious impact Covid-19 has had on mental health, Minster Swann launched a Mental Health Action Plan on 19 May. The Mental Health Action Plan is the first in a series of steps taken by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, to ensure those suffering from mental ill health will be able to access the services they need. The action plan includes a dedicated Covid-19 response plan, which outlines the psychological wellbeing and mental health response to the pandemic.
In addition to this, Professor Siobhan O’Neill, Professor of Mental Health Sciences at Ulster University was appointed as interim Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland. Professor O’Neill is one of Northern Ireland’s leading experts in the field of mental health, and is at the forefront in developing responsive services for those affected by trauma and mental illness.