Today, we call on the Government to protect Ireland’s mental health services in Budget 2021 by investing €80M to address significant additional pressures on the system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The national coalition, for mental health, which represents 75 organisations working across the community and voluntary sector, has highlighted the urgent need to boost the capacity of primary care mental health services to support thousands more people coming forward for support, as well as increasing capacity in specialist mental health services like Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) which are seeing significant increases in referrals since the pandemic took hold.
Fiona Coyle, CEO, said, “Successive Governments have failed to provide adequate resources for Ireland’s mental health services, resulting in serious underdeveloped over many decades. Even before the pandemic, thousands of people were struggling to access the basic mental health supports they need, when they need them. The HSE has said that the impact of COVID-19 has led to a significant increase in the number of referrals to mental health services, as people across the country begin to feel impact of the isolation, loneliness and anxiety this pandemic has caused.”
“Ireland’s mental health services need to be prioritised and placed at the very heart of COVID-19 recovery planning. This includes planning underway to provide support for health services over a very challenging Winter period. It is clear that without significant investment in Budget 2021, thousands of adults and children across Ireland will not get timely access to the mental health services and supports that the need. This could risk putting Ireland on track for a serious public mental health crisis, as warned by both the UN and the WHO.”
“Beyond the additional pressures our mental health system is under, in June, the Government committed to the new 10 year mental health strategy Sharing the Vision to further develop our mental health system. This strategy provides a strong road map to support our services through this difficult period, but it will need significant investment if it is to get the good start it needs.”
Find out more about the Mental Health Budget 2021 campaign and how to get involved here.