Mental Health Reform, the national coalition promoting improved mental health services, was joined by volunteers today (07/10/2014) in presenting Minister of State for Primary and Social Care Kathleen Lynch TD with 22,000 signatures to a petition calling for increased funding for mental health services in Budget 2015. The petition was part of the coalition’s Mental health services can be a lifesaver campaign, which saw 32 petition days held across Ireland.
Mental Health Reform Director Dr Shari McDaid commented on the campaign: “This petition marks a powerful grassroots message to Government on the importance of mental health in advance of Budget Day next week. It is clear from the 22,000 signatures that mental health is an issue that is close to the hearts of people across the county who want to see good quality services available for those in mental or emotional distress.”
Dr McDaid continued: “We call on the Government to listen to the public and to keep their commitment to invest in community-based mental health services, including counselling in primary care and 24/7 crisis supports. We know that mental health services can be a lifesaver, alongside housing, employment and social welfare supports. Unfortunately we also know that the number of suicides remains high, with an all-time record of 554 lives lost in 2011. It is vital that crisis supports are available to people around the clock, as set out in the Government’s mental health policy A Vision for Change.”
“Mental and emotional distress increased during the recession and yet mental health services are under-resourced and over-stretched. More than 1,000 posts were lost out of the service between 2009 and 2013 and staffing levels are still a quarter below those recommended. We are calling on the Government to allocate an additional €50 million for the continued development of community-based mental health services in 2015,” Dr McDaid concluded.