The national coalition Mental Health Reform has expressed disappointment that the Government has missed the opportunity in Budget 2015 to make up for the €15 million shortfall in this year’s allocation for mental health.
Shari McDaid, Director of Mental Health Reform, commented: “When the 2014 budget was announced, Minister Lynch made a commitment that the €15m shortfall would be made up in 2015. We are disappointed that her objective has not been fulfilled by Government. While the €35 million allocated for 2015 can make a difference, mental health services continue to be under pressure to meet the demand from people in severe mental distress. People who use mental health services and their families want to see good quality crisis intervention support available in their local area so that they don’t end up in A&E. They also want holistic support from a multidisciplinary team. We want to see how the HSE will deliver these services in 2015.”
“We welcome the Minister’s intention to invest in mental health services in primary care including increasing access to counselling services. Mental Health Reform had recommended that the Counselling in Primary Care Service be extended to people on low incomes. Already there are reports of lengthy waiting times for this service in its first full year of operation, so further funding is needed for this important early intervention programme, continued Dr. McDaid.
“We also look forward to seeing more investment in suicide prevention and the promotion of mental health and wellbeing. Local communities need to be supported to raise awareness about how to look after one’s mental health. Re-building Ireland’s communities will be an important part of social recovery and will foster good mental health and wellbeing. Investment in community mental wellbeing initiatives can play a valuable role in improving the mental health of people in Ireland,” concluded Dr. McDaid.