Poots Targets Mental Health Care

NI Mental health has been getting a focus this week with news that the Stormont Health Minister Edwin Poots has launched his Department's Service Framework for Mental Health and Wellbeing Announced on World Mental Health Day on Monday, the framework sets standards for the prevention, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, care and rehabilitation of people who have a mental illness.

The Minister said: "Mental ill health can strike anybody, anywhere. It will affect most of us at some point in our lives either through ourselves, family, friends or work.

"That is why it is so important that we address this issue," he said.

"The Service Framework for Mental Health and Wellbeing takes forward the values and principles of the Bamford Review.

"It sets out clearly the key standards in services that mental health patients and clients can expect and that service commissioners and providers must seek to deliver," the DUP Minister added.

"This Framework has the potential to greatly improve the mental health and wellbeing of the people of Northern Ireland. It gives clarity to service users and the wider population about the standards to be expected as well as to those charged with commissioning and providing mental health services."

Mr Poots was speaking as he addressed the 'Releasing Time to Care' regional conference on World Mental Health Day.

The theme of World Mental Health Day this year is 'investing in mental health'.

Commenting, the Minister added: "We all need to look to see what we can do to improve the mental health and well being of our population.

"This includes individuals, organisations and government. With the limited resources we have available, we need to establish specifically targeted policies, plans and initiatives to promote and support mental health.

"We should be able to provide much more support, better services and treatment to those people suffering from mental disorders than they receive at present."

The 'Realising Time to Care' project has been developed by the Health and Social Care Board across all acute mental health hospital wards in Northern Ireland. It aims to improve the outcomes and experiences of patients using services in these facilities.

Recognising the importance of care in the community, the Minister concluded: "It has long been agreed that care in the community is a much better option for people than long periods of in-patient treatment. This is especially true for those with mental health problems.

"However, unfortunately for many people, hospital admission will be unavoidable. The challenge is to ensure that, as quality in community services is improving, quality in the hospital environment also improves. That is what Releasing Time to Care is all about, and I believe it will do much to improve the experience of people with mental health problems in hospital."


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