Fine Gael and Labour plan commits significant resources to community mental health teams, suicide prevention and child psychiatric services
Ireland must respect the human rights of people with mental illness and provide the necessary resources to do so, according to Dan Neville TD, Fine Gael Deputy Spokesman on Health & Children and President of the Irish Association of Suicidology. Speaking in relation to World Mental Health Day today (Tuesday), Deputy Neville said that the current Government was continuing to under fund the psychiatric services and that a Fine Gael/Labour Government was committed to directing significant additional resources at mental health services.
“The Government has failed to respect the human rights of people with mental illness. It oversees a psychiatric service which is out of step with international best practice and, as such, fails to comply with international human rights law. In doing so it falls far short of full respect for the human rights of people with mental illness
“The stigma attached to mental illness within all sections of Irish society allows the long-overdue reform of the mental health services to be ignored. The Government is hiding behind this stigma in its inaction in developing the psychiatric services.
“The Minister for Finance in his first Budget continued his predecessor’s policy in not recognising the urgent need restore the level of revenue for the psychiatric services to the level of 1997, at 11% of the total Health Budget. Since that time the revenue has been reduced to 7% of the overall budget. In 1960 20% of the health budget was granted to the psychiatric services but now the percentage or overall resources directed at this important area reflects a deeply worrying lack of commitment.
“The resources which were freed up by the reduction of in-patient psychiatric beds were not transferred to building up psychiatric facilities in the community. There is an urgent need to establish multi-disciplined community based psychiatric services. The Health Minister must recognise this and immediately introduce a comprehensive programme of investment in such services.
“Fine Gael and the Labour Party, in our recently published joint policy, Reaching Recovery, have committed an extra €251m over five years in order to put in place multidisciplinary community mental health teams; substantially increase the budget of the National Office for Suicide Prevention; and increase specialist and outpatient teams dealing with child and adolescent psychiatric services by 50%.”