Mental Health Reform, the national coalition on mental health, has today called on the Government to act on its own concerns and the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO), and significantly increase investment in mental health services to protect the mental health of the population. Explaining why the whole country was moving to Level 3 last night, both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste separately pointed to the pressure on mental health as a key political concern.
“As the pandemic’s timeline lengthens and the response required deepens, mental health becomes ever more central. We must act on the advice yesterday from the World Health Organisation to move fast and decisively to invest more in life-saving mental health services during the pandemic and beyond.”
“The Government says it understands how important mental health is. Yet, its Winter Plan did not include mental health. Now, just days remain to Budget 2021. €30 million is only enough to deliver a standstill, stay-as-you-are service level for mental health. That wasn’t good enough in good times. With COVID-19 now placing huge pressure on our people and our services, at least €80M will be required on Budget Day. ”
“Thousands are already waiting, some for years, to get access to the mental health services they need. For many, the difficult winter months ahead will be exasperated by the isolation, stress and disruption of Covid-19. Inevitably, others will be admitted to hospital and require other specialist mental health services. For all of these people, mental health must be taken as seriously as physical health. That will require a step change from the Taoiseach and Tánaiste.”
“There is now only one last remaining opportunity to deliver practical support. That commitment will be measured in the budgetary commitment of Government, to new services, over and above what is required to maintain an inadequate status quo, on a stand still basis. There is no Covid-19 plan, no Winter Plan and no credible public health policy that does not prioritise mental health.”, Fiona Coyle, CEO.