Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has welcomed that his motion to improve mental health services was passed today in the Dáil.
The Dublin Mid-West TD has urged the government to now take the required action to implement the measures in his motion that would ensure that nobody is left behind due to being unable to access services.
Speaking after today’s debate, Teachta Ward said:
“When I previously stated to the Minister that I would work with her in constructive opposition that is solution-focused with tangible proposals, it was days like this is what I was talking about.
“I note today that the government did not oppose our motion to improve mental health services. That is to be welcomed but now we need to see action.
“It is time for the Minister to stand up and be counted and to put in place the actions laid out in this motion. I am putting the Minister on notice that I will be holding the government accountable to this motion.
“We need to see a vast improvement on the list of 10,000 people, mostly children, waiting on public psychology appointments. We need extra capacity in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, so that our children can reach their developmental milestones.
“It is now incumbent on the Minister to put in place a 24/7 mental health service that will include a multi-agency mental health de-escalation team, so that people can get the help they need, when they need it and where they need it.
“Covid and lockdowns have had an enormously detrimental effect on people’s mental health, and we have gone from a mental health crisis to a mental health emergency.
“On the back of this motion, the government has agreed to put in place immediate access to talk therapy on GP referral, and to remove the medical card barrier to accessing services.
“The onus is now on the government to put in place additional capacity in private mental health hospitals for public patients, with particular emphasis for those suffering with eating disorders.
“This motion outlines a roadmap in mental health supports in the here and now, and if implemented by government will resource our community services so that they meet the emerging mental health needs.”