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Mental health services must be adequately funded

A new report has placed the spotlight on mental healthcare in Northern Ireland, calling for a significant improvement in services.

This is an area which requires dedicated, specialist treatment with people suffering from mental illness often needing long term intervention and support.

However, all too often we hear that people needing urgent help can experience difficulties in accessing the care they need.

Professor Sir Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said it is a `scandal' that some patients in Northern Ireland have to travel to England for treatment.

He was speaking following the publication of a study by an independent commission led by Lord Nigel Crisp, who has held leading roles in the health service in England.

The report said that those suffering a severe mental illness should be able to expect the same level of care as those who have a heart attack or stroke.

Despite having a high rate of suicide and mental illness, the commission found that mental health services in Northern Ireland are badly underfunded.

Mental illness has a profound impact on the lives of many people in our society. It is essential those in need of care receive the specialist support they need.

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