Mental health underfunding must be reversed – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has highlighted the chronic underfunding in mental health services by the Government.
Speaking on World Mental Health Day Deputy Ó Caoláin urged the Government to commit to a significant increase in spending on mental health in Budget 2015.
Deputy Ó Caoláin stated:
“Mental health issues have affected, and are currently affecting, many tens of thousands of people across the country. It is also reported that Ireland has the fourth highest rate of suicide in Europe. Despite these serious statistics the current government has made only marginal progress in addressing this crisis.
“I have already highlighted the failure of this Government to implement its mental health strategy, a strategy that has cross-party support. The psychiatric services are grossly understaffed. A report published by Mental Health Reform also points out serious deficiencies in the development and provision of recovery-oriented mental health services. The implementation of mental health policy across the country was also found to be uneven and inconsistent.
“I call on the government to increase funding for community mental health services and for suicide prevention programmes. Vision for Change, the Government’s mental health strategy, promised much and remains but a vision.
“The Sinn Féin alternative budget highlights how additional funding could be allocated for much needed suicide awareness and prevention services.
“We in Sinn Féin are dedicated to finding workable solutions to our mental health crisis on an All-Ireland basis.
“Our sympathies lie with all those affected by mental health issues, especially those who have been touched by suicide” concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.