The Union of Students in Ireland and Mental Health Reform have called on the government to “clarify their commitment” to providing €37.5m in the budget for mental health care.
USI President Annie Hoey, and mental health advocacy group Mental Health Reform, are demanding ‘cross party commitment’ on the issue of mental health in next year’s budget. Hoey believes that not enough supports are being put in place for those, both young and old, who may be feeling under stress in Ireland today.
“The delay to access to proper mental health services deepens the damages of mental illness,” said the USI President. “The most obvious solution for progression in the field of mental health services is substantial cross-party commitment on immediately setting up 24/7 intervention services nationwide.”
Mental Health Reform Director, Dr. Shari McDaid, said the government had already committed to measures including the introduction of intervention services in order to reduce the number of suicides in Ireland.
“We are seeking clarification now as to whether this will be realised in next year’s budget,” said Dr. McDaid. “In the context of a 48% shortage in child and adolescent mental health service staff and lack of 24/7 mental health services across the country, full implementation cannot wait any longer.”
Mental Health Reform are also calling on Fianna Fáil to ensure that its budget commitment from the government reflects the agreement to implement A Vision for Change within a full term of government.
A Vision for Change is a strategy document which proposes a holistic view of mental illness. This framework recommends an integrated multidisciplinary approach to addressing the biological, psychological, and social factors that contribute to mental health problems.
Mental Health Reform said full implementation of A Vision for Change requires investment of €37.5m per year.