24 Sep 2020
REFERENCE : Webinar

An Introduction to Northern Ireland's Mental Health Champion: Professor Siobhan O'Neill

At this online event, you will have the opportunity to hear from Northern Ireland’s newly-appointed Mental Health Champion, Professor Siobhan O’Neill.

This appointment was made by the Health Minister, Robin Swann MLA, in recognition of the need for mental health to be given greater priority, particularly in the context of the Covid 19 Pandemic.

Professor O’Neill is Professor of Mental Health Sciences at Ulster University, and is one of Northern Ireland’s leading experts in the field of mental health, known for her active and passionate involvement in suicide prevention.  She has accepted this role on an interim basis pending an external recruitment process in 2021. 

At this briefing, Professor O’Neill will discuss the key elements of the role of the Mental Health Champion, which will include:

  • Building consensus to integrate mental health and well being across government, including encouraging public bodies to think about mental wellbeing, resilience, mental health and recovery, and to help integrate the ideas of mental resilience and mental health in all public policy making;
  • A public advocate for mental health and participating in the public debate around mental resilience, suicide, mental health and recovery;
  • An adviser to senior stakeholders. To support research into mental health, and to provide a voice for those who otherwise would not be heard. The adviser role is supportive to drive mental health forward, rather than comparative to fight against decisions.
  • A challenger of decisions and policies. To challenge decisions where mental wellbeing, suicide prevention, good mental health and recovery are not considered, and where such consideration would be beneficial for society as a whole.

Ahead of this event, Professor O’Neill said: “I look forward to discussing my new role with members of the Chief Executives’ Forum at this seminar and to sharing ideas for managing our own and our teams’ wellbeing in these difficult times.”