Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has announced that the party’s Private Members’ Time in the Dáil next week will be devoted to the issues of Mental Health and suicide prevention. Publishing the Sinn Féin Dáil motion, Deputy Ó Caoláin pointed to the report of the Mental Health Commission published earlier this week and which makes some alarming findings. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“The report of the Mental Health Commission shows that only 44% of psychiatric hospitals and mental health facilities are compliant with staffing level regulations.
“The Report also makes clear that since 2007, staffing in mental health services has been reduced by the implementation of recruitment embargoes and employment moratoriums. Such policies are endangering the delivery of confident and responsive community-based services as envisaged in A Vision for Change, the Government’s mental health strategy.
“It is also of huge concern that the Commission reports that children are still being admitted to adult units. There were 91 (22.3% of all child admissions) such admissions in 2013.
“Our motion seeks to re-focus the Oireachtas and public opinion on Mental Health and suicide prevention and on the need to implement A Vision for Change by ensuring sufficient resources and firm political commitment. We are seeking all-party support for our comprehensive motion.”
That Dáil Éireann
- mental health is an issue of vital concern to the nation in general and should be of special concern to policy-makers and legislators in particular
- mental health services must be designed and delivered to aid the recovery of the individual
- a person-centred approach is vital to the achievement of the best results
- the 2013 Annual Report of the Mental Health Commission, published on 25 June 2014, has highlighted many of the key issues and requirements for action by Government
- its continuing commitment to the implementation in full of A Vision for Change
- its commendation of the work of the Mental Health Commission
- its support for the work of the National Office for Suicide Prevention
- its appreciation of those non-governmental organisations, national, regional and local who actively promote positive mental health and seek to reduce the incidence of suicide and self-harm
- its commitment to eliminate the stigma in relation to mental illness
- that the mental health of each citizen and of the nation as a whole is a positive resource that contributes to our general social, cultural and economic well-being
Calls on the Government to
- ensure a consistent high standard of care and support for all requiring access to mental health services
- provide for independent monitoring of the roll-out and progress towards full implementation of A Vision for Change
- commit to an annual allocation of €35 million for the development of community mental health teams and to make good any shortfall in any given year in the subsequent year’s allocation
- properly resource mental health services across the board, including the provision of appropriate and adequate staffing and with a key focus always on recovery
- promote awareness of the unacceptability of certain practices and continue to discourage their use e.g the application of ECT on detained persons against their will
- end the practice of admitting children to adult psychiatric units
- progress relevant legislative undertakings including completing the ongoing review of the Mental Health Act 2001 and to bring the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 through Committee and remaining stages
- require the Health Research Board to again carry out a national survey of psychological well-being and distress, last carried out in 2005-2006, and to continue to conduct such a survey at regular two or three yearly intervals
- ensure a cross-departmental response to the risk of suicide and self-harm, including from the Departments of Health, Education & Skills, Children & Youth Affairs and Environment
- provide the necessary resources to establish and sustain a 24/7 crisis support service for people experiencing severe mental or emotional distress, to operate in conjunction with the local Community Mental Health Teams.
- arrange for greater co-ordination of all existing suicide prevention initiatives across all sectors and groups working in the area
- ensure the prioritisation of address of the mental health needs of marginalised communities
- guarantee that the new National Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention will place mental health awareness among children and young people at the top of its programme
- provide an appropriate accessible alternative to general A&E presentation to victims of self-harm.