A timely focus on mental illness


Sir, – Niamh Delmar draws welcome attention to mental health services (“The mental health dilemma facing the professionals”, Health + Family, February 18th).

While there have been expansions of services in recent years, more always needs to be done.

From a policy perspective, Ireland’s mental health policy, A Vision for Change, is due to be updated later in 2020 and this will hopefully prompt renewed commitment to mental health services across all stakeholders.

From a legislative perspective, the Mental Health Act 2001 is being reformed, the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 is due to be commenced, and the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 is being implemented.

Hopefully, any new government will prioritise funding all of our mental health services including those addressing areas of particular need: out-of-hours access, child and adolescent services, youth suicide, and the physical health and social wellbeing of people with severe mental illness.

This is an issue that extends well beyond traditional mental health services, into areas such as housing policy, social services, the criminal justice system and supports for people with addictions to alcohol and other drugs.

Mental illness is an all-of-society issue. It requires an all-of-society response. – Yours, etc,


Professor of Psychiatry,

Trinity College Dublin,

Dublin 2.