Making Mental Health a Priority – SocDems launch Mental Health Policy

This morning, Tuesday 28th January, at the ILAS institute at NUIG in Galway, the Social Democrats launch their Mental Health policy – ‘Making Mental Health a Priority’, with Róisín Shortall, co leader, Niall Ó Tuathail from Galway West and Peter Reid from Galway East.

Róisín Shortall, party co-leader said:

“Mental health care in the country is currently a piecemeal system that lets many fall through the cracks. Primary and community care is much disorganised and emergency care is not fit for purpose. This results in unnecessary distress for people and their families and, too frequently, avoidable tragic outcomes. People in distress often find that help is not forthcoming.”

Niall Ó’Tuathail, the Galway West candidate, speaking in advance of the launch said:

“We need to put mental health service users and their families at the heart of reforming the service. They know better than most how people fall between the cracks of our service and need to be listened to.

“In Galway, I have been working with local groups for years looking at models from around the world, including exciting new community models of care. We’ve already secured funding together for a new type of café service with peer support and are looking forward to launching this year and starting to make a difference to address the mental health crisis.

“While we improve services, we also need to be aware of the consequences of economics and government policy on mental health. Young people have a raw deal with the cost of housing and living and can’t afford to even live by themselves, let alone raise a family. This is having a huge impact on mental health.”

Peter Reid, the Galway East candidate added:

“One of the principal measures we propose is to fully implement Sláintecare, the all-party agreed 10-year plan for a universal health service, based on need, not ability to pay. The plan calls for an increase in funding available to mental health services to 10% of the health budget, matching international good practice, up from our current 6%. This would provide for strong public education on mental health, better prevention strategies, more appropriate and timely primary and community level care and better acute and in-patient services for those in crisis.”

28th January 2020

Editors Notes:
1. The policy ‘Making Mental Health a Priority’ is available here

2. The Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) is a new institute which takes an education approach to mental health recovery.

3. The Social Democrats are running 20 candidates in constituencies across the country.

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