HSE winter plan ignores mental health

 

Sir, – Last week the HSE launched the much-anticipated winter plan, following Cabinet approval. The focus in the plan on keeping people with physical health needs out of hospital beds is welcome and understandable. However, keeping people with mental health difficulties out of hospital should also be an integral part of the plan. Unfortunately, no money has been set out for this, which shows clearly the complete lack of parity of esteem between mental healthcare and physical healthcare in Ireland.

Before the pandemic, thousands of people were struggling to get timely access to basic mental health services and supports when they needed them. The HSE has said that the impact of Covid-19 has led to a significant increase in the number of referrals to mental health services, as people across the country begin to feel the impact of isolation, loneliness and anxiety that this pandemic has caused.

Addressing the mental health needs of our nation requires significant political prioritisation and investment – the winter plan has failed to acknowledge this.

I would like to call on the Government to address this glaring oversight in the HSE winter plan by substantially boosting investment in mental health in budget 2021.

This winter, don’t leave those who need mental health support out in the cold. – Is mise,

FIONA COYLE,

Chief Executive Officer,

Mental Health Reform,

Coleraine Street,

Dublin 7.