Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams has said the Government must tackle crisis support services for people suffering mental health issues. The current situation was inadequate and was putting lives at risk.
Mr Adams was speaking in the Dail this evening to a Sinn Féin Private Members Motion on Mental Health and Suicide.
Gerry Adams said:
“What is clear from the various issues that have emerged in recent weeks is that there a crisis in mental health provision in this State. It is a crisis that is costing lives. It is a symptom of a health service crumbling under the weight of austerity and cuts.
“The Sinn Féin motion seeks to re-focus the Oireachtas and public opinion on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. It stresses the need to implement A Vision for Change by ensuring sufficient resources and a firm political commitment across all parties and by the Government.”
Mr Adams said the State needed to get into the practice of measuring, in a regular and planned way, the mental wellbeing of society:
“The last state-wide survey of psychological wellbeing and distress was conducted in 2005-2006, and published by the Health Research Board in 2007. This was meant to be repeated every two years but has not been conducted since.”
The Sinn Fein Leader said a key priority for suicide prevention must be the development of adequate 24/7 crisis support service for people experiencing severe mental or emotional distress but that was currently not the case.
“My colleague Dessie Ellis TD has previously raised the issue of vulnerable young people presenting with serious mental health issues being turned away from Dublin hospitals due to a lack of beds and staff to provide care across the capital.
“Lives are being put at risk because there are not enough beds and not enough nurses and doctors in place to care for these citizens. These are citizens who, due to their mental health problems, are a danger to themselves and others. Yet they are being turned away when they seek care.
“Doctors and nurses in hospitals across the city are working very hard to care for their clients but cannot deal with the volume of people who need their care.”
Mr Adams said the Government’s Framework for Suicide Prevention needs to prioritise young people, given the clear evidence that early intervention is cost effective.
“It must also target marginalised groups including the deaf community, people from minority ethnic communities, including the Traveller Community, and the homeless, all of whom have a higher risk of experiencing mental health difficulties”, he said.