NI Is Facing 'Unprecedented' Health Challenges - Swann

Northern Ireland is facing "unprecedented" mental health challenges following the pandemic, according to Health Minister Robin Swann.

Mr Swann said there was a shortfall of £100m to £150m in mental health provision in Northern Ireland and called for urgent funding to address the situation and to put mental health on an even footing with physical health.

Speaking to the Stormont committee he said: "Given that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week, it is entirely appropriate that we give this topic the platform and focus it deserves.
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"It is hugely important that we use this opportunity to strive to reduce stigma associated with mental ill health, to improve support for those who need it and to secure the resources to ensure we have a system that adequately cares for our community."

Mr Swann said a key element of the strategy would be a funding plan.

He said: "This will set out more clearly the funding requirements to see the strategy implemented, and as I have mentioned, the figures will be significant.

"But now is not the time to bury our heads in the sand - we have seen the needs of our communities increase during the last year, we know it is unlikely to significantly improve, and we are building on a shaky foundation of years and years of under-investment.

"Now is the time for action, and I trust Committee members will be supportive of all attempts to secure additional resources to achieve our strategy's aims and improve mental health outcomes for all in Northern Ireland."

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