Mental Health Reform has today (28/11/12) presented Minister for Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch TD, with 10,000 signatures from its petition calling on the Government not to drop the ball on mental health in next week’s budget.
The petition urges the Government to honour its commitment to fund community mental health services. In Budget 2012, the Government promised to invest €35 million and to hire 414 staff for community mental health teams. To date, just 14 of these posts have been filled, according to information from the Department of Health.
In the Programme for Government, the coalition partners also committed to an annual investment of €35 million in community mental health services, with a promise to prioritise intellectual disability, old age and forensic mental health services in 2013. The petition highlights the need to invest an additional €35 million in 2013.
Mental Health Reform Director Orla Barry commented: “the delay so far in investing the promised funding in 2012 and the recruitment of much-needed multi-disciplinary staff for community mental health teams is extremely disappointing. Behind each time-related saving like this there are real people left in need, communities left in distress.”
“For the Government to properly implement its policy A Vision for Change and continue the move from institutional-based care to community-based care, it needs to keep its promises on funding. Mental health services continue to subsidise the rest of the health service, with promised funding being ‘saved’ and diverted to the overall deficit, to the detriment of local services”, Ms. Barry continued.
“We hope that the Government will take note of the ten thousand people who have helped us keep the ball rolling on mental health and we thank everyone who has supported the petition. The Government needs to decide if it is willing to prioritise mental health once and for all this Budget Day”, Ms. Barry concluded.