Mental health needs to be prioritised

Many cannot access appropriate treatment
  • Deborah Condon

The next Government needs to prioritise mental health as this area has suffered from "years of under-investment and staff shortages", Mental Health Reform has insisted.

Mental Health Reform is a national coalition promoting improved mental health services. It currently has over 70 member organisations.

According to its CEO, Dr Shari McDaid, everyone in Ireland is likely to be affected by mental health problems at some stage, either personally or through friends, family or colleagues. However many of those affected may not be able to access appropriate treatment.

"Mental health services have suffered from years of under-investment and staff shortages, resulting in many people who might need mental health treatment, not getting access to it. This is completely unacceptable," she commented.

She pointed out that there is strong public support for investment in mental health services, and 84% of the public thinks that the health service places too little focus on mental health. Yet despite this, there are fewer staff working in mental health services today than there were in 2008.

"The 2020 General Election must be one that signals a turning point for the crisis in Ireland's mental health services. The next government must urgently act to significantly increase resources.

"It must make mental health services accessible 24/7, not just Monday to Friday 9-5, and it must update our mental health law to adequately protect the rights of people who go into hospital for mental health treatment," Dr McDaid said.

Mental Health Reform is also calling on the general public to raise the issue of mental health with electoral candidates when they come canvassing for the upcoming General Election.

For more information on Mental Health Reform, click here.


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