Fine Gael TD for Limerick, Dan Neville, has today (Monday) welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, that the Government is allocating an additional €50 million to fund the implementation of the Programme for Government commitments on mental health and access to GP care. €35 million of this will be ring fenced for the delivery of mental health care in the community.
“The commitment to ring fence €35 million for the development of community mental health teams and services was contained within the Programme for Government, and was previously outlined in ‘A Vision For Change’. The Government’s decision to deliver on this shows we are committed to reducing the stigma on mental illness. We can ensure early and appropriate intervention by vastly improving access to modern mental health services in the community.
“This is the first step in dealing with the neglect of the mental health services over decades. This move also recognises that the economic recession has a direct impact on the mental health and wellbeing of our citizens, illustrated through the increase in the levels of suicide since the recession began.
“The increase in the number of people dying by suicide to more than 600 per year is of extreme concern. I would now urge the Minister for Health and Children to allocate €4 million of the €35 million for mental health services to the National Suicide Prevention Office. This could go towards the introduction of suicide prevention programmes, raising awareness about how to deal with those who are suicidal, and ensuring that services are there for people in crisis.”