December 14, 2021
Funding for Climate Action should not be at the deficit to Mental Health – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has questioned why €1.8 million of the €10 million once-off funding for mental health will be spent on a fleet of green or hybrid vehicles for the HSE.

Teachta Ward said:

“In Budget 2022, Minister Mary Butler announced a €10 million once-of funding for mental health. This was to fund once-off initiatives only, that must be realised by year end 2021.

“I have been putting pressure on the Minister to announce when this money will be spent and on what. Time bound, once-off funding can lead to panic spending, with the resources not necessary going to where it’s needed.

“The Minister announced that €1.8 million of €10 million once off funding for mental health will be spent on a fleet of green or hybrid vehicles for the HSE.

“Tackling the climate emergency is extremely important, but so too is tackling the mental health emergency.

“Funds for green initiatives should come from operational budgets and not the mental health budget. Funding for climate action should not be at the deficit to other portfolios.

“The Minister needs to explain how this will improve the experience of people who are trying to access mental health supports from the HSE.

“Some initiatives are welcome, like the extension of the crisis café in Galway, but there is an element of trying to tick boxes.

“For example; €1 million has been allocated to enhance services and supports in areas such perinatal mental health, men’s mental health, trauma informed care, ethnic minorities, including the Traveller and Roma communities, eating disorders and dual diagnosis

“All these areas need support, but will a €1million fund across 7 different areas make much of a difference. The Minister is throwing confetti and trying to cover as many areas as possible.

“It’s a follow on from Budget 2022. Never has so much been spent to achieve so little.

“I’m also disappointed that only €1million will be provided to Mental Health Ireland to provide supports for grassroots mental health organisations in local communities nationwide.

“Grassroots mental health organisations bore the brunt of the upsurge of people requiring mental health supports during the pandemic.”

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