Spending on mental health services

 

Sir, – Paul Cullen makes excellent points about “building a better healthcare system for all” (News Review, June 26th).

Mental health services need to be central to the system. In 2018, Ireland allocated €912m (£807m) to public mental health services, which equates to approximately £16.5m per 100,000 people.

In the same year, England allocated £12.2 billion, which equates to £21.8m per 100,000 people. On a pro rata basis, England allocated 32.1 per cent more than Ireland to mental health services.

In addition, England has 32.9 public acute psychiatric beds per 100,000 people, compared with 22.1 in Ireland.

In 2021, Ireland’s mental health budget is €1 billion or 5 per cent of our overall health budget, compared to 12 per cent in New Zealand and UK.

Mental health care is not only about psychiatric services, but also community resources, social support, housing, reform of the criminal justice system, and enhanced physical health care.

The solutions lie in greater awareness of serious mental illness, better funding of services, community mobilisation and – most of all – leveraging political will to bring about meaningful social change for people with mental illness and their families. We are at a moment when fundamental reform is possible in our society.

We should not miss this opportunity. – Yours, etc,

Dr REBECCA

CONLAN-TRANT,

Prof BRENDAN KELLY,

Department of Psychiatry,

Trinity College Dublin,

Dublin 2.