November 25, 2020
Change in attitudes towards mental health needed at highest level of policy making and governance – Mark Ward TD

Mark WardSinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD will bring forward the Mental Health Parity of Esteem Bill at second stage in the Dáil tomorrow

This piece of legislation will put mental health treatment at the same level of importance as physical health.

Speaking today, Teachta Ward said: “This is a Bill of hope and a vitally important piece of legislation that will elevate the plight of people seeking mental health supports to the forefront

“It aims to compel a change in attitudes towards mental health at the highest level of policy making and governance. 

“The effective integration of mental health services with physical health services is particularly important. 

“The relationship between physical and mental health is such that poor mental health is linked with a higher risk of physical health problems, and vice versa.

“This Bill will place a duty on the Minister for Health to promote health parity, and to ensure all organisations within our health system meet parity obligations in relation to mental health.

“If you have an accident and cut your head, you will receive the appropriate treatment and aftercare, when you need it, where you need it.

“But if you have a problem going on inside your head, you may not receive the same level of treatment. This Bill aims to redress this balance.

“Mental Health problems do not just materialize Monday to Friday between the hours of 9 to 5 and disappear at other times.

“We need access to a comprehensive 24/7 mental health service to address the systemic failures in our mental health system.

“Many services are inundated with cries for help. Experts at the Covid committee described the mental health services as being out of date and not fit for purpose.

“I have engaged with numerous stakeholders who have endorsed this Bill, including the Mental Health Commission, Mental Health Reform, and the independent chair for Sharing the Vision National Implementation and Monitoring Committee, John Saunders.

“I am calling on all parties and none to support this Bill, in particular Fianna Fáil, who have advocated for mental health parity in the past

“The Mental Health Parity of Esteem Bill aims to offer hope for better mental health care by ensuring that vulnerable persons with mental illness are cared for efficiently, when needed, and on parity of esteem with physical health.”

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