Sinn Féin TD Mark Ward has called for a special sitting of the Dáil to discuss mental health and the reconvening of the Committee on the Future Provision of Mental Health Supports, in light of the urgent need to provide support to people during the unprecedented Covid-19 emergency.
The Dublin Mid-West TD also questioned the Minister for Health on why Pieta House staff have recently been subject to redundancies and queried the appropriateness of the Government’s over-reliance on charities for essential services which should be provided by the state.
Teachta Ward said: “In light of the World Health Organisation stating the Coronavirus could cause a global mental health crisis, I have called on the Minister to have a special sitting of the Dáil on mental health. I have also called for the reconvening of the Committee on the Future Provision of Mental Health Supports.
“Covid-19 has seen an upsurge in people looking to avail of mental health supports and the longer this goes on the bigger the demand will be on services.”
He added: “We all saw the big support and generosity of the Irish public towards Pieta House last week with their fundraiser on the RTÉ Late Late show. I, like many people, have supported this charity over the years.
“However, I was concerned to discover that Pieta House had introduced redundancies to clinical workers prior to this fundraiser. At a time of a pandemic and peoples’ mental health being adversely affected, the Government needs to help Pieta to retain these clinical workers.”
Teachta Ward urged the Minister to also consider the wider structural approach towards provision of mental health services and why such essential services are being outsourced to charities.
He said: “Being so dependent on charities to provide services that the state should be providing is a failure of this Government.
“We have seen in the past that when charities start operating like a business, we have problems. The simple solution is for the state to provide these vital services.”