Budget 2024 must commit serious funding to mental health

12 June 2023
  • Properly resourced service will end stigma

Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith has urged government to focus spending in Budget 2024 on mental health services.

Deputy Smith said the report published by the Mental Health Commission last week points to a failure of government to invest in mental health services.

Deputy Smith said:

“Ireland currently has one of the highest rates of mental health illness in Europe and our mental health services are being pushed to the brink. One in four people in our society will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives.

“Mental health issues have become increasingly prevalent amongst our youth with the increased pressures – both online and offline – that they face.

“We all know how deeply important it is to have accessible mental health services widely available. Yet instead of seeing improvements from government we see failure after failure, like the failures in CAHMS, and experts like the Mental Health Reform group outlining the terrible impact the lack of services is having.

“There’s a lack of joined up thinking on mental health in this country. Government are quick to pay lip service to the issue but slow to invest in any meaningful way.

“A recent survey of workers carried out by SilverCloud showed that up to six in ten employees in medium to large companies in Ireland report feeling depressed or down. While some employers have Employee Assistance Programmes, many working in low pay are totally excluded from these supports which may include counselling services.

“Targeted funding to deliver best in class care for anyone who is suffering with their mental health is crucial, and Labour would also welcome the introduction of clearer information campaigns targeted at young and old.

“There is still plenty of work to do to educate and end the stigma surrounding mental illness that still exists in Ireland.

“Right now, the Government are failing to present a vision and to proactively intervene and offer help to people who are struggling. Budget 2024 is an opportunity to address the concerns highlighted by the Mental Health Reform group, whilst also addressing the dearth of infrastructure present in Ireland for those who are struggling.”

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