Mental Health Reform is calling for clarification on the future of the mental health budget, following reports in today’s Irish Times that the €35 million earmarked for development of community mental health services could be used to shore up deficits in that area.
Director of Mental Health Reform, Orla Barry, commented on the reports, saying: “Today’s Irish Times report suggests that money designated for investment in mental health budget could once again be raided, but this is at odds with a statement from Minister Kathleen Lynch in the Dáil on Wednesday, in which she said that the €35 million budget for community mental health was still in her ‘back pocket’.”
“Our understanding is that the posts for community mental health – a vital component of the €35 million commitment – will be put in place by the end of the year, apart from 31 posts which Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly has already confirmed will be diverted to in-patient mental health services in the short term.”
Ms. Barry continued: “We need firm assurances that the Government is not rowing back on their commitment to invest €35 million in community mental health services and we urge the Government to issue a clear statement on the matter, without delay. We also still need clarification on when the full complement of posts for community mental health will be in place.”