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Greater supports needed for mental health awareness and prevention - Adams

16 February, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams has said that the Government is neglecting the mental health area and that Sinn Féin in Government would increase mental health spending and recruit extra mental health nurses.

Mr Adams was speaking after he and Sinn Féin Cork North Central candidates Jonathan O’Brien and Thomas Gould visited Circle of Hope - a community-based, mental health awareness & suicide prevention facility.

Following the visit, Gerry Adams said:

“Irish suicide rates should be a cause of deep concern to political leaders.

“Recent statistics show that 459 people - 368 males and 91 females - took their own lives in this state in 2014.

"In the same time period there were 62 undetermined deaths which in other jurisdictions are counted as suicide.

"It is generally accepted that the real figures for suicide on the island of Ireland is as high as 1,000 a year.

"The human cost of this on families and communities is devastating. All sections of society and all generations are affected.

"Despite the fact that 644,000 people - one in seven adults - have experienced mental health issues in the last year, successive Governments have neglected the mental health area.

"The framework document, ‘A Vision for Change’ proposed mental health funding of 10% of the health budget. This has never been achieved.

"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.

"In Government, Sinn Féin would recruit more mental health nurses and reverse cuts introduced by the Government in 2012 to guidance counsellors.

"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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