Stigma of mental illness remains, says Fine Gael TD

Dan Neville suggests national forum of groups working in suicide prevention

Limerick TD Dan Neville:  Described by Minister of State for Health Kathleen Lynch as “one of the pioneers” in raising mental health issue in the Dáil. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Limerick TD Dan Neville: Described by Minister of State for Health Kathleen Lynch as “one of the pioneers” in raising mental health issue in the Dáil. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

Ireland still had a long way to go in removing the stigma associated with mental illness, Fine Gael TD Dan Neville said.

He said some work had been done but a large amount of stigmatisation still existed, as was shown in research by Amnesty International and St Patrick’s Hospital.

“That work is ongoing and, hopefully, we will see the fruits of that in the coming period,” Mr Neville added.

The Limerick TD, who is retiring at the end of the current Dáil, was described by Minister of State for Health Kathleen Lynch as “one of the pioneers” in raising the mental health issue, talking about it in an open fashion in the Dáil.

Mr Neville suggested the setting up of a national forum of the various groups working in the suicide prevention area.

He said it had been estimated up to 300 groups provided support for those at risk of suicide, but the exact figure was not known because the sector was fragmented. In the past 25 years, national and regional forums and networks had been established to share information and provide support to one another. “If we are to tackle this issue, we need to take the next step in developing our response to suicide prevention,” he said.

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