Michael D Higgins looks set to be the ninth president of Ireland. He also won the poll for the best plan for mental health on this site which saw him win over 26% of the vote. Read Michael D Higgins plan for mental health.
Amnesty International Ireland, Mental Health Reform and See Change have asked the seven presidential candidates for a plan on what they will do in relation to mental health and suicide prevention if elected.
All of the candidates have stressed that mental health and suicide prevention is on top of their agenda should they be elected. While the three organisations welcome this commitment, they have asked to see a more detailed strategy on what exactly the candidates plan to do in the areas of stigma reduction, anti-discrimination work and to generally improve the mental health of the nation.
Commenting on the initiative, Orla Barry Director of Mental Health Reform, said: “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.”
Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, commented: “We are looking for the presidential candidates to outline their 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 there is an increase in the number of people experiencing mental health problems. 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”, he continued.
John Saunders, Director of See Change, added: “We will put the matter before the people. We will ask people to cast their vote on www.mentalhealthreform.ie for what they think is the best plan to make Ireland a place where people with mental health problems can live in equality and without facing stigma and discrimination. We must challenge the myths that surround mental health problems and promote greater understanding and acceptance of people with mental health problems.