Senator accused of ‘further stigmatising’ those with mental health issues

Call for Rónán Mullen to explain remark that ’mental health not health’ in abortion debate

Senator Rónán Mullen has been accused by Senator Grace O’Sullivan of insinuated he did not believe mental health was heath.  File photograph: Collins

Senator Rónán Mullen has been accused by Senator Grace O’Sullivan of insinuated he did not believe mental health was heath. File photograph: Collins

 

Independent Senator Rónán Mullen should clarify remarks he made about mental health after and accused him of “further stigmatising” those with mental health issues, a Green Party senator has said

Senator Grace O’Sullivan said many Oireachtas members wore a green ribbon to signify their opposition to the stigmatisation of mental health and it acted “as a reminder of the damage that such stigmas have done to those suffering from mental health issues in the past and in the present”.

Ms O’Sullivan said there had been some “serious assaults on the concept of mental health” during the abortion referendum campaign and phrases such as “vague mental health”, used in the debate on programmes including Claire Byrne Live and The Week in Politics contributed to further stigmatisation of mental health.

She said Mr Mullen had “insinuated” he did not believe mental health was heath.

“I do not know what utopia he lives in but I live in a world where mental health is a real health issue” which was not given enough attention, she said.

“In this debate, the fact that something such as mental health should be lowered by people from this House is unacceptable,” she added.

The Waterford Senator called for Mr Mullen to explain in the Seanad “why he said that he does not believe that mental health is health. I would like him to qualify that statement”.