Marking the 10th anniversary of the national mental health policy A Vision for Change, Mental Health Reform, the national coalition on mental health, has called for a renewed commitment to mental health by the next Government.
Shari McDaid, Director of Mental Health Reform, commented: “There has been progress in turning A Vision for Change into a reality for people experiencing mental health difficulties but much more needs to be done. There has been definite progress in some areas, like the numbers of multidisciplinary staff on mental health teams increasing by 500 staff between 2008 and 2014. This means more people having access to the support of psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists.”
“However, people are still having long waits in A&E, and many particularly vulnerable people such as those with an addiction or disability are not getting the full care they need. The modern, community-based mental health system set out in A Vision for Change has yet to become a reality across the country. Services are stretched and understaffed”, Dr McDaid continued.
“What is needed now is a clear signal from all political parties that they will make mental health a priority, if elected. People with mental health difficulties do not need empty promises. The #Ourstateofmind campaign is asking all candidates and parties to commit to specific actions that will make a real difference, including: a nationwide school programme to build good mental health; access to 24/7 crisis supports; easy access to counselling; a right to advocacy support, to help people with mental health difficulties access services; and advance healthcare directives, to give people the right to make choices about their own mental health treatment. If the next Government doesn’t properly address these issues, they’ll be missing a unique opportunity to develop a mental health system that works to prevent mental health difficulties and support recovery”, concluded Dr McDaid.
The #Ourstateofmind campaign is at www.mentalhealthreform.ie and will run until after the next General Election.