Today the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) posted their review of mental health statistics in Northern Ireland. The report highlights the need for consistent data collection across all mental health services, professional leadership across the health trusts, and improved data accessibility.
The Director General for the OSR, Ed Humpherson, has written to Richard Pengelly, the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health to highlight the publication. In his letter, Mr Humpherson said, “At a time of major transformation and change, statistics and data are vital to support decision making and should be viewed as a key component in measuring the effectiveness of the new strategy.”
Action Mental Health has also backed the findings of the report. Jonathan Smyth, the Head of Communications & Fundraising at Action Mental Health, emphasised the importance of mental health services working collaboratively in Northern Ireland:
“We hear regularly from professionals about the challenges they face in navigating Northern Ireland’s fragmented services, which are often entirely different from area to area, or maybe they are simply described differently depending on postcode. We’re also aware of the impact this has on our clients and the confusion and frustration it causes as they have to re-tell their story to many different healthcare professionals.”
You can read Jonathan's full response here.
The OSR will continue their engagement with the Department of Health (NI) as the new Mental Health Strategy is implemented, and advocate for better statistics to reflect the true extent and experience of those with mental health problems.
The full review of mental health statistics in NI can be accessed here.