Check out party manifestos and see who’s saying what on mental health
We take a look at who is saying what on mental health in the manifestos of political parties. Mental Health Reform’s recommendations are highlighted.
The AAA-PBP manifesto is Common Principles: Radical Alternatives & Real Equality. It doesn’t make any specific commitments on mental health but on health there is a commitment to build a National Health Service.
Awaiting the publication of the AAA manifesto.
People Before Profit’s manifesto, Share the Wealth: An Alternative View for Ireland, make commitments to:
• Create a National Health Service free to all at the point of access, with greater investment in all areas including mental health,
• Promote alternative treatments and therapies instead of over-reliance on prescription medication for a range of physical and mental health challenges,
• Increase the number of Primary Care Teams (PCTs) and the Primary Care Centres to provide early and prompt responses to mental health difficulties;
• Abolish prescription charges,
• Increase funding for Mental Health and Disability Services with at least 25% of the Mental Health budget going to Child mental health,
• Implement ‘Vision for Change’ staffing recommendations, and
• More closely integrate treatment of drug dependency and mental health.
The 2015 Fianna Fáil policy document Improving Mental Health makes specific commitments to:
• Carry out a review of A Vision for Change and draft a follow-on policy for 2016-2026 that has a recovery and partnership approach,
• Implement the recommendations of the Expert Group on the Review of the Mental Health Act, 2001,
• Ensure cross-governmental coordination to address the interlinked issues of homelessness and mental health difficulties,
• Support children’s mental health by ensuring mental health promotion, early intervention, and improved access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and
• Allocate an additional €40 million per annum to mental health services.
In their February 2016 health policy Patient Services First, Fianna Fáil make the following commitments on mental health:
• Establish a new statutory National Mental Health Authority to be charged with leading an all out national programme to promote positive attitudes to mental health and to reduce the incidence of self-harm and suicide, and to ring-fence funding for mental health services,
• Carry out a full review of what still remains to be achieved under A Vision for Change and bring forward on updated plan for 2016 to 2026,
• Fund mental health services so that staffing levels reach the levels envisaged by A Vision for Change, amounting to an increase in staff to 12,000, and
• Abolish prescription charges on a phased basis.
In their election manifesto An Ireland for all, Fianna Fáil make the following commitments related to mental health:
• Provide training and support for schools to help them in identifying and tackling cyber bullying ,
• Create a Cabinet level Minister for Disability,
• Ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the end of 2016, and
• Promote and Support the Employment of People with Disabilities.
The Fine Gael manifesto, Let’s Keep the Recovery Going, makes specific commitments to:
• Increase funding for mental health by €175 million,
• Publish a plan for the achievement of faster access to comprehensive and appropriate mental health services, building upon A Vision for Change,
• Continue to resource adult and child mental health services in the community, ensuring timely access to services for all vulnerable groups, including LGBT people,
• Extend youth mental health services, such as Jigsaw, which is free to access and does not require GP referral,
• Consult on how schools could introduce new subject choices into the curriculum, including mental health and well-being
• Extend the Counselling in Primary Care service to more people,
• Ensure greater access to counselling and psychological services,
• Establish an independent patient advocacy service,
• Support mental health recovery by offering follow-up training and booster self-help courses
• Expand the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS),
• Ensure integration of psychotherapy, counselling and social care services with primary care teams,
• Ensure appropriate amendments to the Mental Health Act 2001 to address concerns regarding involuntary committals and procedures,
• Build on reduced waiting times for child and adolescent services,
• Support mental health recovery through accessing appropriate social housing with tenancy sustainment services.
The Green Party manifesto, Think Ahead, Act Now, make specific commitments to:
• Begin implementation of mental health reform with an additional €35m per annum
• Fully implement and resource A Vision for Change,
• Reintroduce guidance provision in secondary schools with an investment of €32m a year, to support the mental health of students,
• Provide mental health care in the community that is adequately resourced , with hospital admission as a last resort, where possible,
• Ensure independent regulation of Psychotherapy, Counselling and Psychology services,
• Ensure integration of access to psychotherapy, counselling and social care services into all Community Mental Health Teams and primary
care teams, including the Child and Adolescent service,
• Appoint a Mental Health Promotion Officer in schools to provide emotional health programmes,
• Ensure the nationwide implementation of the SCAN crisis response service for people who are suicidal,
• Ensure the full resourcing of a range of therapeutic services, including community supports, for women experiencing peri and post natal depression,
• Integrate addiction services with mental health and social care.
The Labour Party manifesto, Standing Up for Ireland’s Future, and their mental health policy, Better Mental Health, make specific commitments to:
• Provide timely and free access to mental health care for all children and adults,
• Extend the Counselling in Primary Care service to all 16- 25 year olds on completion of eMental Health courses and with a GP’s
• Continue to ring-fence mental health funding,
• Develop a new service to address dual diagnosis (addiction and mental health), headed by a new HSE National Director for Alcohol and Addiction,
• Extend the opening hours of Community Mental Health Centres into the late evening and through the weekend, and extend the Jigsaw service to all major towns and cities,
• Prioritise the growth of Psychiatry of Old Age Teams in areas with older than average populations,
• Ensure early intervention and well integrated care and support between TUSLA, education and mental health services,
• Extend the level of State investment in suicide prevention strategies in line with the Connecting for Life strategy, including the recruitment of an additional 50 suicide prevention nurses,
• Establish a mental health awareness and advertising programme to build resilience and breakdown prejudices.
The Renua Ireland manifesto Rewarding Work, Rebuilding Trust makes specific commitments to:
• Implement in full the recommendations of Mental Health Reform’s 6 point mental health manifesto, and
• Increase the share of the health budget for mental health services to 7%.
The Sinn Féin manifesto, For a Fair Recovery, includes specific commitments to:
• Increase the mental health budget,
• Complete the rollout of Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurses (SCAN),
• Recruit mental health nurses specifically to liaise with homeless services, commencing with 5 in year one,
• Increase provision for people with mental health difficulties and increase funding for counselling in primary care,
• Increase the number of inpatient child and adolescent beds to end the inappropriate admission of children to adult psychiatric units,
• Increase Disability Allowance by €20,
• Tackle barriers to employment for people with disabilities.
The Social Democrats’ manifesto Building a Better Future, 2016-2026 includes specific commitments to:
• Deliver all aspects of A Vision for Change,
• Introduce a curriculum to develop children’s mental health and well-being,
• Restore guidance counsellors to all secondary schools,
• Ensure that dedicated mental health teams are on call 24/7,
• Resource and expand the Counselling in Primary Care service, and
• Enact the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in conjunction with new legislation on Advance Healthcare Directives.