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Home Dublin Mental health services cannot be ignored during pandemic, says TD Ward

Mental health services cannot be ignored during pandemic, says TD Ward

The Government must produce a fully resourced road map for mental health provisions, a Sinn Fein TD has said.

Sinn Fein spokesperson for mental health Mark Ward TD says his calls “come on the back of the impending announcement on restriction by the Government and as a result of two parliamentary question responses that show a drop in actual funding for mental health provision.”

Deputy Ward said more resourced need to be allocated to mental health services.

“Later today the Government will make yet another announcement on restrictions during the pandemic.  The Governments need to realise that this is not a show, but it is real life.

“In addition to a clear and concise announcement I am again calling on the government to produce a fully resourced road map for mental health provision.

“One that puts resources in place to deal with the immediacy of this emergency alongside long term measures that will take us out of this crisis.

“The time for talk is over. Talk is cheap and action is needed.

“The public do not want pats on the back and platitudes saying that their mental health is being minded when the reality is different.”

Deputy Ward said that recently tabled parliamentary questions show that funding has been cut for mental health provisions.

“I received two responses to parliamentary questions that show how low mental health is on the Governments agenda.

“The percentage of funding in the health budget has decreased from 6.7% in 2018 to 5.2% in 2020. This is despite Slainte care recommending 10%.

“Additionally, the Government allocated €35 million each year from 2016 to 2019 for additional funding for its programme of Government.

“Shockingly amid a mental health emergency this Government reduced its programme for Government allocation for mental health to €13 million. This is inexcusable.

“I am calling on the  Government to immediately  use some of the surge capacity in private hospitals for mental health.

“Create 24/7 emergency access to mental health supports. Arrange free universal counselling on GP referral.

“Alongside these measures provisions need to be put in place for systemic long-term change in how mental health services are provided for in this state.”

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