The national umbrella group for mental health, Mental Health Reform, has broadly welcomed the Government’s commitment to invest €35 million to develop community mental health services but warned that the money could be lost without the appointment of a Directorate of Mental Health Services.
“It is clear that An Taoiseach, the Minister for Health and the Minister for Mental Health are genuinely committed to advancing mental health services so that they are befitting of a modern 21st century European country. We are concerned that the money invested in community mental health services today, could get lost within the HSE unless a person with budgetary authority and full accountability, a National Director for Mental Health Services, is put in place now”, stressed Orla Barry, Director Mental Health Reform.
“It is crucial that this additional money is used to develop community mental health services and protected in such a way that it cannot be used for anything but the development of community mental health teams to provide a range of supports to enable recovery as outlined in Government policy”, Ms Barry said
We fought long and hard for this money and it is truly, particularly in these economic circumstances, a real sign of commitment by this Government that it has now been allocated. Let us ensure it is used for its intended purpose”, Ms Barry commented on the announcement.
Notes to the Editor:
Mental Health Reform has collected over 6,000 signatures in its petition to fight for mental health in budget 2012. Its supporters have sent over 1500 emails to TDs to urge them not to cut mental health services and to protect the commitment in the programme for government to invest €35 million in community mental health services.