Young people need to be able to access mental health services more easily

10 October 2017

Speaking on World Mental Health Day, Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin has said that the Government must do more to ensure that mental health services are rolled out to young people across the country.

Deputy Howlin said:

“Statistics from Pieta House show us that 1 in 7 Irish adults have experienced a mental health issue in the last 12 months. Most of us have family and friends who have been through difficult periods of stress, anxiety or depression. World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to reflect on how we can support each other through mental health struggles. 

“While progress has certainly been made in recent years towards improving mental health services in this country, I am concerned that services for young people in particular are still far below par.

“It is vital that we take care of the mental health needs of our young people and early intervention and support is essential.

“The Labour Party has consistently fought to ring-fence funding for mental health.  In our Alternative Budget we have provided a further €25 million to implement the recommendations of Sláintecare including over €9 million for children and adolescent mental health teams, and a further €8.9 million for adult mental health teams. This funding stream will provide for the fully functioning mental health teams as laid out in a Vision for Change.

“When Labour ensured €35 million was ring-fenced for mental health annually, we also doubled the budget for the National Office of Suicide Prevention to support community organisations. We ensured money was used to educate GPs on suicide prevention, to fund a primary care counselling service, to facilitate access to psychology and psychotherapy services, to make additional beds available for child and adolescent mental health services, to employ clinical nurse specialists to respond to those who present with self-harm in accident and emergency departments, to finance the national clinical programme for eating disorders, which is an area that had been neglected, to provide training in behavioural family therapy and to provide for the roll-out of Jigsaw.

“Young people need to be able to access services that are easily available to them. They do not necessarily need psychiatry. In many cases, they need other models like counselling. It strikes me, based on the research that has been done on young people who present to the mental health services, that they often require this kind of service rather than the traditional kind of service that was made available in the past.

“On days like today it is important to discuss how we can better support those we see every day who might be experiencing difficulties with their mental health, and recommit ourselves to ensuring the mental health treatments and support people need are available.”

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