On the heels of #123GP's campaign, NI's Department of Health announced a £10m fund for mental health charities to help them provide services like talking therapies, calling them "key supports to tackling mental ill health as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic". The Mental Health Support Fund will be run by Community Foundation NI.
A study in The Lancet Psychiatry, of survey data from nearly 20,000 UK adults, found that more than one in ten experienced deteriorating (7%) or consistently poor (4%) mental health during the pandemic. The largest groups reported experiencing good (39%) or very good (38%) mental health throughout. The final 12% experienced an initial decline followed by recovery to pre-pandemic levels of mental health.
The NI Commissioner for Children and Young People briefed Stormont MLAs on the ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the mental health of this group. She expressed a number of concerns, including at lack of coordination of efforts. Marking Mental Health Week, the Minister for Health Robin Swann MLA told Health Committee members that NI has seen an unprecedented rise in need for mental health support during the pandemic, and the impact of this will be felt for years. He admitted that in NI mental health receives up to 30% less funding per capita than England.