Mental Health Reform has today (17/07/2014) highlighted the need for continued investment in mental health services in its appearance before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform.
Dr Shari McDaid, Director of Mental Health Reform, said: “There has been virtually no additional resources for mental health services over the last few years, with a net decrease in staff resources to the year-end 2013. While the recruitment of new staff is beginning to make a difference, we are still down one quarter of the staff required to deliver the model of care set out in the government policy A Vision for Change. We still don’t have home treatment, crisis houses or 24/7 crisis supports required around the country.”
“Even with all of the new staff that have come on stream, we still only have slightly more than a third of the health and social care professionals needed, and we are short nursing staff in the key areas of suicide crisis assessment and home treatment. Therefore, we are asking for the €15 million that was due in 2014, plus the €35 million for each year as promised, to continue the development of community based mental health services”, Dr McDaid continued.
“With 15% of the Irish population likely to experience anxiety and depression in any given year, we need to increase access to counselling services. While the roll out of the Counselling in Primary Care service to medical card holders was a positive step, there is still a vast amount of unmet need. We are asking for funding for the Counselling in Primary Care service to be extended to more people with mild to moderate mental health difficulties and to increase the maximum number of sessions from eight to twenty. A widely available counselling service is good value-for-money and will help people who are off work due to sickness to return to work more quickly.”