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Maire Devine demands Government deliver on mental health commitments

13 April, 2013


January 2013 marked the 7th anniversary of the implementation of a vision for change, a national policy framework that was to see a major transformation in mental healtth services that would refocus services from the old style outmoded institutional care and an almost exclusive medication based model to a modern community based model that was not about just about managing mental illness but a radical  shift to adopt a  recovery model  at the heart of delivery mh services in ireland.

In its 7th out of a ten year plan the m h c- not usually known for directness- reported that vfc is slow and inconsistent.

Mental health issues have exploded within recent years yet the irish public are still being ill served by lack of community and inpt services. There is no proper plan or funding in place to keep present service levels never mind investment in this new vision. Hampering vfc’s implementation includes:

·         no director of mental health services has been appointed

·         moratorium-staffing levels have dropped by 13% in past 2 yrs the promised 900 posts for community development disappeared into the ether

·         actual spending has decreased from 8% in 2009 to 5% last year delayed spending of ring-fenced 35m

·         the dissolution of the policy’s monitoring group with no plan to review this.

As a society our mental health has never been as fragile- it effects each and every household- with the incidence and burden falling mostly on the lowest income families. The incidences of anxiety, depression, distress, suicide and dash in Ireland is one of the highest in Europe.

On a positive note- sf acknowledges and supports:

·         the significant roll out of youth friendly services that are responding  to the distress of our young for some)

·         the inclusion of service users in advising on mental health matters.

·         campaign groups which give voice to service users.

·         the publication of guidelines on promoting positive mental health and suicide prevention in  schools and   broaden the dialogue.

We support the Niamh Campaign ‘change your mind’ launched in the 6 counties 

Countless reports rage against the failure of mental health services. Mental health has been the perennial Cinderella of the entire health system .it is difficult not to conclude that the government are ultimately using VFC document as a fiscal scalpel to cut services. There has been little replacement of hospital services in the community. This is not the spirit on which VFC was devised.

We are a society in trouble and we have a moral responsibility to demand sufficient resources and  an enthusiasm to guarantee provision of a modern  mental health system to meet today’s needs.

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