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All-Ireland action plan needed to tackle mental Health needs - Adams

11 October, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, MP, has said that the issue of mental health in Ireland is being neglected by Health Departments, north and south:

"The low level of inadequate resources devoted to mental health spending reflects the lack of priority and urgency given to this aspect of public policy by both Health Departments on this island. Mental health provision is operating on a shoestring budget. Today, on World Mental Health Day, I am urging both administrations on this island to prioritise and integrate mental health provision in the statutory and community sectors, in the next financial year.

"We need an all-Ireland strategic action plan for tackling this serious issue.

"It is not good enough for the Department of Health in the six counties to say that local health boards and trusts must meet the mental health needs of local communities within existing, available resources. There are profound needs and inadequate resources for mental health across the six counties. In some areas, such as north and west Belfast, the under-funding of mental health totals millions of pound over recent years. The vacuum created by the Department of Health is only being prevented from becoming a huge void by the many community-based projects and support groups which are themselves entirely dependent upon non-recurrent, charitable funding.

"Through contact with families and groups across the 32 counties working to raise awareness about suicide and self-harm, there is already a strong public consensus that greater public resources must be devoted to mental health. What we need now is joint government action on mental health, starting with suicide prevention, using the all-Ireland institutions to develop all-Ireland solutions." ENDS

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