Mental health issues affect countless families in almost every community in Ireland. People with mental health problems face widespread inequality, stigma and discrimination. And yet few of us are willing to talk about it or challenge it.
We need a national conversation on the issue and the President is perfectly placed to get people talking.
We are looking for you to outline your plan to tackle the issues of mental health and suicide prevention in more detail. We need to ensure that people are not discriminated against for something that could happen to any of us; to improve upon the historic neglect of people with mental health problems. We need to start this national conversation now.
It is unfortunate but true that mental health issues are on the rise in Ireland. It is well established that economic worries and anxieties increase mental health difficulties. The next seven years may see even greater pressure on people already struggling to cope.
Among the seven candidates there is a common consensus that mental health is a priority that needs to be addressed. We strongly welcome this commitment.
We are asking all seven candidates to return to us with their plan by Friday, 14th October and we will put the matter before the people. We will ask people to cast their vote online for what they think is the best plan. We ask that each plan consider specific measures for how your Presidency would deal with the following:
- Making Ireland a place where people with mental health problems can live in equality and without facing stigma and discrimination;
- Championing the human rights of people with mental health problems and ensuring social inclusion;
- Inspiring change in people attitudes to mental health problems;
- Creating an environment where people are more open and positive in their attitudes and behaviour towards mental health;
- Challenging the myths that surround mental health problems and promoting greater understanding and acceptance of people with mental health problems
- The huge impact of the recession on people’s anxiety and mental health.
Orla Barry – Director, Mental Health Reform
Colm O’Gorman – Executive Director, Amnesty International Ireland
John Saunders – Director, See Change