Representatives of Mental Health Reform’s 21 member organisations marked the 6th anniversary of the publication of government mental health policy A Vision for Change today (23/01/12) in Dublin to stress that a lot of ground needs to be made up if this policy is to be fully implemented.
People with mental health conditions and their families around the country are expecting to see better mental health services and the government must fulfill its promises. The next four years are crucial if Government wants to fulfill its commitments for the transformation of mental health services, national umbrella organisation for mental health, Mental Health Reform has warned.
“The slow progress on advancing the mental health reform programme in times of prosperity now demands accountable leadership and realisation of the promised resources to ensure that the existing implementation gap is bridged”, said Director of Mental Health Reform, Orla Barry.
“We welcome the €35 million targeted for the development of community-based mental health services and the announcement of a Director for Mental Health as part of the new governance structures of the HSE. We now look forward to the publication of a detailed implementation plan setting out deliverables, timelines and who is responsible”, Ms Barry stressed.
“The long promised community mental health services are severely under-developed and we know that any cash crisis hits community services more. We cannot afford to cherry-pick parts of A Vision for Change, the policy must be implemented in full by the deadline set out by this Government in order to make mental health services equitable and accessible for all”, Ms Barry continued.
“The Government has demonstrated that mental health is a definitive area of priority. They must not falter in this commitment over the next 4 years if A Vision for Change is to be implemented in full. We urge the Government to introduce law to ensure we have fully staffed community mental health services. This would allow for increased transparency and accountability in mental health spending, as well as ensuring better outcomes for those who use the services”, Ms Barry said.
She concluded: “The next four years will see huge transformation in our health services and mental health must not be lost in this transition.”