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Successive governments have failed on mental health service provision - Adams

12 February, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD this morning met Peter Moroney from SOSAD, the Suicide Awareness and Prevention group in Louth.

Teachta Adams commended “all of the countless suicide prevention support groups and all of those in our health service and related agencies that work hard every day of the week in seeking to reduce suicide”.

Gerry Adams said:

“According to the most recent statistics available for suicide in this state 459 persons - 368 males and 91 females - took their own lives in 2014. During the same period there were 62 undetermined deaths which in the north and in other countries are normally counted as suicide. At the same time around 300 citizens in the north die each year from suicide.

"It is generally accepted that the real figure for suicide is higher and that as many as 1000 citizens die across this island each year by suicide.

"The human cost of this on families and communities is devastating. The reality is that all sections and all generations of our society are affected, from the very young to the very old, and in rural and urban areas.

"Self-harming is also a huge issue in Irish society today. Thousands are admitted to hospitals every year as a result of self-harm which in many cases go unreported.

"Mental Health is an area that successive governments have failed to provide an adequate level of service. This is despite the fact that 644,000 people or one in seven adults have experienced mental health issues in the last year.

"The funding allocated to mental health is insufficient. The framework documents, ‘A Vision for change’ proposed a mental health funding of 10% of the overall health budget. This has never been achieved.

"Among our detailed proposals on mental health Sinn Féin would increase the mental health budget in year one by €35 million.

"We would complete the rollout of Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurses. Only 24 of the 35 nurses approved for this programme had been recruited by mid 2015.

"We would recruit mental health nurses, specifically to liaise with homeless services commencing with five in year one.

"We would reverse cuts introduced by the government in 2012 to guidance counsellors.

"And we would update the Mental Health Act and Criminal Law (insanity) Act to bring them into line with international best practice.

"One significant contribution to tackling suicide and self-harm would be greater co-operation between the health services north and south. In particular the creation an all-Ireland Suicide Prevention Agency that would co-ordinate the work of all of those involved would bring immediate benefits.”

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