MHR and USI seek urgent review of decision to allow just 1.8% in additional spending in 2017 for mental health care improvements. - Mental Health Reform

November 1st, 2016

Dear Minister McEntee,

On the 11th of October 2016, both Mental Health Reform (MHR) and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) welcomed the Government’s decision to allocate €35M in development funding as a positive step towards implementation of the national mental health policy, A Vision for Change. Disappointingly, less than one week later we learned that under half of this money, €15M, would be released to the HSE to spend in 2017.

The allocation of €15m for 2017 will represent only a 1.8% investment in new developments for mental health compared to the 2016 budget. Even including the €9.7M announced for increased pay rates in mental health services, this represents an increase of just 3% in revenue funding for mental health, much less than the 7.4% increase in revenue spending for the health budget as a whole. This Government’s allocation will do little to redress the decades of neglect of Ireland’s mental health services, let alone put in place the foundations for a modern mental health system.

In an act of community just five months ago, the #IAmAReason campaign rallied together to share our stories and to share what kind of impact cuts to and underdevelopment of mental health services means for real people. All over social media and outside the gates of Leinster House, we spoke about the lack of 24/7 crisis intervention services. We spoke about staffing levels in child and adolescent mental health services being 48% below recommended levels. We spoke about staffing levels across the mental health services being 21% below recommended levels. We spoke about the inadequate mental health service infrastructure available to support the needs of people affected by homelessness and dual diagnosis.

Here again, we find ourselves in the same position.

Jointly, and on behalf of our members, MHR and USI are seeking an urgent review of this Governments decision to allow just 1.8% in additional spending in 2017 for mental health care improvements.

Yours Sincerely,

Shari McDaid, PhD. Director of Mental Health Reform

Annie Hoey, President of the Union of Students in Ireland

    8 comments so far!

  • Nigel Mulligan
    1st November 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Investment in mental health is not only a responsé but it can be a preventative measure and this will reduce cost in the medium to long term.

  • Nora Donaghy
    1st November 2016 at 6:21 pm

    As a manager of a service in the north east working with addiction we are at present assessing clients with dual diagnosis on a daily basis. I can confirm that clients are presenting with more complex needs and proper mental health services is crucial at this time. We need more people working in this area who are properly trained in dual diagnosis who will work both with the statutory and voluntary services. This extra 2o million which was promised in 2017 is needed to meet current demands and clients may not be here by the time it is released. We all have a duty of care to these most vulnerable clients both young and old.

  • Sean
    1st November 2016 at 11:52 pm

    Thanks to Shari and Annie for getting the ball rolling on this. Not acceptable that the people we, the people of the country put in power constantly go back on their word. It is not humane and not right! Helen, bring this sensitive topic to your own situation and think of families and friends across Ireland who suffer on a constant basis. 35m is not even enough when it comes to our well-being but at least it is a start.

  • Annette Wright
    2nd November 2016 at 9:17 am

    Please read above. Putting money into Mental health now will save a lot of money in long Run . People with Mh Problems contribute a lot to Society they are somones Son brother Mother . Please A stitch in Time saves Lives

  • Dr. Michael Roberts
    2nd November 2016 at 12:32 pm

    We should be talking about ‘mental illness’ reform. Mental health has been totally ignored and stuck in under the umbrella ‘mental illness’ and this is totally misleading. Confusing the two makes it easier for the State institutions to dodge their responsibilities to all its citizens to foster health and well-being while treating those who are mentally distressed, many by the mis-treatment dished out by State authorities, mainly the HSE.
    Lets clear up the language we use as a start to getting the Services right.

  • dawn bennett
    2nd November 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Please rethink this cut, as our Mental Health is the biggest growing problem in our counrty, its rapidy increasing and in need of more of our resources as a result.

  • JoAnne Neary
    3rd November 2016 at 11:32 pm

    There are ao many shortfalls in the system. Lack of commication between services,standards of practice not adhered to, transfer meetings between camhs and adult services not taking place and assumptions that om turning 18 a young adult is well enough to adjust to poorly run service, not enough staff. Ironically my daughters first appointment with adult services was during mental health week…the doctor did not turn up. Appalling. I would like to contribute to this campaign in any way I can

  • Michael O'Callaghan
    5th November 2016 at 10:30 am

    Please ensure that the money allocated to Mental Health of €35,000,000 is allocated and not cutback to €15,000,000. This is scandalous and outrageous by this present Government who did the same afew years ago,when they transferred €20,000,000 for it to shore up deficiencies in the Dept. Of Health. Mental Health is a no 1 priority,Michael o’Callaghan.

Submit a Comment