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Mental Health Review - Still Waiting

‘Still Waiting’ is the culmination of a Rights Based Review of Mental Health Services and Support for Children and Young People in Northern Ireland.

The report provides a comprehensive overview of children and young people’s experiences and pathways to accessing mental health services or support. It looks at a broad range of services that young people may have accessed and considers these against a range of rights based standards. The report also examines service activity and budgeting data relating to mental health services in Northern Ireland and sets out a range of recommendations for improving services that are grounded in the evidence collected.

Latest Monitoring Report

NICCY concluded its second round of monitoring (4 February 2021). This included:


There are 50 recommendations included in the report, which covers a range of aspects of mental health services and support.

The overarching finding from the Review is the need for a system wide response to the challenges outlined.

All agencies and sectors must work together, taking collective responsibility for taking the recommendations forward. For this reason in most cases, the report has not specified any one agency or department against individual recommendations. The recommendations cover a range of  areas that include a focus on building mental health awareness and understanding, making it easier for young people to get the right help when and where they need it, supporting adults working with children and young people, and supporting young people with additional needs.


Next Steps

Implementation and Monitoring

NICCY is committed to monitoring the implementation of the recommendations in the ‘Still Waiting’ review and to engaging with all relevant agencies to ensure improved outcomes for children and young people. 

Still Waiting Implementation Structures

The Department for Health on behalf of the Inter-Departmental Group (consisting of representatives for the Department for Education, Justice and Communities along with the Voluntary and Community Sector) published an action plan for delivering on the Still Waiting Report recommendations in October 2019 (the still waiting action plan). This was shortly followed by a progress update report in December 2019.

More recently, the Still Waiting action plan has been included in the Mental Health Action Plan published by the Department for Health in May 2020 in response to Covid-19 and a commitment made to embedding it in the Northern Ireland Mental Health Strategy due to be published in spring / summer 2021.

We provided advice (22 March 21) on the Department of Health's draft Mental Health Strategy 2021-2031. You can view the advice paper here

NICCY Monitoring Process

NICCY will publish 4 monitoring reports between 2020 and 2023. These will be published in February of each year to coincide with Child Mental Health Week.

The monitoring reports will be an assessment of the progress made to implement recommendations made in the Still Waiting Review. This assessment will include a review of the Inter-Departmental Group annual progress update report on implementation of the Still Waiting Action Plan, along with an analysis of service activity data and views from key stakeholders. 

Key Milestones

On the 4 February 2021, NICCY concluded its second round of monitoring. This entailed a detailed assessment of the Inter-Departmental Group Action Plan and an overview Summary Progress Report. NICCY has also produced a Mental Health Data report which provides a compilation of key service activity data for the period 2013/14-2019/2020, and key information from it has been used to inform NICCYs assessment of progress.

In February 2020 NICCY published its first monitoring report.  You can view the Monitoring Report here and read our assessment of the Inter-Departmental Group Action Plan here

In October 2019 we published a Status Update Report which provided an interim assessment of progress and set out our intention to publish a series of four annual monitoring reports.

In January 2019 we provided a written submission to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Inquiry into Health Funding in Northern Ireland. In its final report in October 2019 the Inquiry highlighted our report and recommended that the Northern Ireland Government delivered on a key overarching recommendation from it to put in place ‘a long term and sustainable ‘funding and practice partnership’ model be established for driving change which takes account of the investment required across all key services and sectors included in the stepped care model’.

Briefing Paper

NICCY has produced a short briefing paper on ‘Still Waiting’ which provides a summary of the report findings and recommendations and an update on progress to date regarding dissemination and implementation of the recommendations.  

Report Launch

The report was launched on 27th September 2018 at St Mary's University College, Belfast. 

Background Information

There are a number of reports that NICCY has produced that provide more background information on the Review, they are listed below.  


Speak Your Mind Campaign

  • Children and young people’s experiences of mental health services and support formed a central part of the Review.
  • The Speak Your Mind recruitment campaign was developed to hear their views - you can find out more here


If you have any questions you can contact the Lead Researcher- Christine Irvine at Christine@niccy.org or on 028 9031 6384.

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