Restoration of funding must mark new priority on mental health
Labour Spokesperson on Mental Health Kathleen Lynch has welcomed news that funding ring-fenced for mental health has been restored in the 2016 budget allocation.
“Under the previous Programme for Government 2011-2016, there was a specific commitment to ring-fence funding of €35 million for the mental health budget every year.
“As Minister with responsibility for mental health, I made strenuous efforts to preserve the fidelity of the Government’s commitment to mental health thus ensuring that the full ring fenced funding of €35 million was part of the budget day package. The subsequent attempts to divert €12 million of this funding to other health areas represented a 34% reduction from the allocation.
“To divert €12 million in funding to other health services would have seriously undermined the mental health division in its ambition and ability to provide critical mental health services for people across the country.
“The new Fine Gael-Independents government has had a poor start on mental health.
“Their Programme for Government dropped completely the important mechanism of ring fencing funding for mental health services. They then attempted to divert millions in ring fenced funds away from the 2016 mental health budget.
“I hope that the restoration of the ring fenced funds will herald a new focus and prioritisation on mental health that is currently missing from the new government.”