Mental Health Reform has today delivered an end of term postcard to politicians, to mark the last day of term in the Houses of the Oireachtas before the summer recess. The giant postcard, delivered by Mental Health Reform’s Director Orla Barry, carried the message: “A Vision for Change – Wish We Were There!”, referring to the need to provide comprehensive community mental health services to people all around the country.
Mental Health Reform urges TDs to check the plan for community mental health services in their own area over the summer, and to ensure that the promised new staff are in place by September 2012. Members of the public can ask their local TDs to do this here.
The need to provide comprehensive community mental health services is set out in the Government’s mental health policy A Vision for Change. Funding of €35 million for the development of community mental health services was promised in Budget 2012, and the HSE Service Plan 2012 committed to the appointment of 414 staff for mental health, including 370 staff for child, adolescent and adult Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs).
In recent weeks, Mental Health Reform had expressed concern that no staff have yet been hired. Mental Health Reform’s Orla Barry commented: “We welcome Minister Kathleen Lynch’s assurances that the staff for Community Mental Health Teams – including psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers – will be in place by September. It is vital that multi-disciplinary mental health teams are in place in communities as soon as possible”
“We expect that there will be 90 CMHTs across the country, and that each team will be professionally complete, with psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers joining doctors and nurses. There will be one team per 50,000 population.”
Ms. Barry concluded: “I welcome the presence here today of Senator Susan O’Keeffe, and Deputies Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin and Maureen O’Sullivan, as well as the support of Deputies Robert Troy and Simon Harris, members of the Oireachtas Cross Party Group on mental health. Their support is greatly appreciated. We must remember that mental health issues affect all communities and it is the responsibility of all members of the Oireachtas to champion mental health, for the benefit of their own communities.”
Helping Mental Health Reform’s Director Orla Barry hand deliver the giant postcard was the organisation’s Chairman Eddie Molloy, along with Colm O’Gorman (Amnesty International Ireland), Carol Moore (Dual Diagnosis), Joyce Loughnan (Focus Ireland), Martha Griffin (Gateway Mental Health Project) and Michele Kerrigan (Grow).