People power can change mental health failures - Ní Riada
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada is urging people across the country to support a petition calling for 24/7 community based mental health services.
The petition, currently open for signatures on uplift.ie, urges the government to deal with the issue of people suffering a severe mental health emergency out of hours having to present at A&E.
"One in seven Irish adults will experience mental health issues, that is the reality of how prevalent they are" she said.
"Last year in Ireland 769 people took their own lives and given that under-reporting of suicide is so widespread a conservative estimate would put the real figure at closer to 1000. That is the real cost of mental health issues.
"It is time the government faced up to the fact that we are facing a mental health crisis in Ireland and they have a duty to put the proper funding and support forward to address that.
“The State’s mental health policy A Vision for Change is ten years old and ten years on there is still an absence of 24/7 crisis care.
"Staffing levels are 75% of what is recommended in their own document and staffing for child and adolescent services is at 50%.
"The government's own document commits it to setting aside 8.24% of the health budget for mental health services, a target it has never met and has failed to meet in next year's budget.
"The only thing consistent about the government's approach to mental health has been its failure.
"Earlier this year Sinn Féin brought a motion before the Dáil demanding implementation of 24/7 crisis intervention services within 12 months. A few weeks later we sought to amend a Fianna Fáil motion to call for a minimum of €37.5 million additional funding for mental health in 2017. Fianna Fáil sided with the government both times and allowed both to be defeated.
"The Dáil may be failing on this issue but people power can affect real change so I would urge as many people as possible to sign this petition, to share it on social media, to raise it with friends and family and crucially, your elected representatives.
"Mental health issues are not discriminatory; they affect people across all social classes, ages and genders. Nobody is immune. The fact is that everyone reading this knows somebody suffering from mental health problems, whether they are aware of it or not.
"Christmas is a particularly tough time time for people suffering from the likes of depression, isolation and loneliness, so I would urge people to let friends and family know that they are available to talk and if you yourself are suffering then I would ask you to simply say something to someone you trust.
"Even just talking about mental health is the beginning of a process in breaking down the stigmas around it, so get involved. The consequences of doing nothing are far too high and risking effecting each and every one of us personally."
The petition is available at https://action.uplift.ie/campaigns/51?utm_medium=email&utm_source=engagingnetworks&utm_campaign=mental