21,000 people urge Government to invest promised funds in mental health services

Mental and emotional distress has increased during recession, experts say

 Dr Shari McDaid from the coalition Mental Health Reform presenting Minister of State for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch with a petition signed by over 21,000 people calling for the Government to invest an additional €35 million  in community mental health services next year. Photograph: Alan Betson

Dr Shari McDaid from the coalition Mental Health Reform presenting Minister of State for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch with a petition signed by over 21,000 people calling for the Government to invest an additional €35 million in community mental health services next year. Photograph: Alan Betson

Wed, Oct 9, 2013, 22:39


A petition signed by 21,000 people calling on the Government to keep its promise to invest in modernising mental health services was handed over to the Government yesterday.

Mental Health Reform, a coalition of campaign groups, handed the petition to Minister of State with responsibility for mental health, Kathleen Lynch.

It calls on the Government to ensure an additional €35 million is invested in community mental health services next year.

Dr Shari McDaid, director of Mental Health Reform, said this promised investment would improve access to good quality mental health supports for the wider community.

“As our petition states, we know what works for mental health: mental health services based in the community, with a range of multidisciplinary staff offering a choice of treatment options, among other measures,” Dr McDaid said.

“We know that mental and emotional distress has increased during the recession. We need to see real improvements in the services available.”

While the programme for government commits the Coalition partners to invest an additional €35 million to modernise mental health service annually, over recent years the funding has been delayed to create time-related savings.

Dr McDaid said the recruitment process for multidisciplinary mental health staff should not be delayed as a result of overspending in other parts of the wider health service.

“We urge the Government to spend in 2013 the €35 million allocated for community mental health services for 2013,” she added, “as well as allocating an additional €35 million for mental health services in 2014 for community mental health services as promised.”