September 25, 2020
Government Winter Plan has ‘total disregard for mental health issues’ – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Mental Health, Mark Ward TD,  has criticised the Government’s 2020/21 Winter Plan as a “total disregard for anyone experiencing mental health issues”.

Teachta Ward said:

“We have heard all the sound bites from the Government when it comes to mental health provisions, but soundbites do not resolve years of chronic neglect of the mental health services in the state.

“What people desperately need is a clear plan of action. The Government’s Winter Plan does not even mention mental health once. This is a complete disregard for people suffering  with their mental health and is a clear indication of how low mental health is on the Government’s priorities.

“I took part in the Special Covid Committee and heard testimony after testimony from expert witnesses, from a range of mental health services, about how out of date and under resourced mental health services are.

“We also heard that we are on the verge of a mental health tsunami because of the additional pressures due to Covid.

“I am left asking myself what the point was in having these special meetings when this Government totally ignored the advice when it came to the Winter Plan.

“We are coming into Winter now, which is traditionally the time of year when people suffer more from mental ill health, with cold weather, dark nights and holiday seasons all a factor. This situation is exasperated by Covid.

“Mental health services are already bursting at the seams and not having a plan for the Winter is simply not good enough.

“I have written to the Minister’s for Health and Mental Health and expressed my concerns and asked that they go back to the drawing board and formalise a mental health winter plan as a matter of urgency.”

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