August 4, 2023
No new resources for Mental Health National Clinical Programmes an admission of failure – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Mental Health, Mark Ward TD has accused the government of talking out of both sides of its mouth when it comes to addressing the mental health crisis in the state.

Information Deputy Ward received in response to a Parliamentary Question stated that Mental Health National Clinical Programmes did not receive any funding for new posts to expand clinical programme services in 2023.

The National Clinical Programmes affected were for self-harm and suicide-related ideation, eating disorders services, early intervention in psychosis and ADHD in adults.

The Dublin Mid-West TD said:

“I cannot fathom why Mental Health National Clinical Programmes did not receive any funding for new posts in 2023.

“It is like the government has thrown in the towel and admitted that they just cannot fix the problems that they have created in mental health services.

“When I look at the National Clinical Programmes that have received no new funding this year, I am incredibly concerned.

“There is no new funding to expand the programme for self-harm and suicide-related ideation.

“Last year, I highlighted how figures released to me in response to a parliamentary question showed that 23,000 people presented to 25 hospitals with suicidal ideation between 2018 and 2021 – an average of 15 presentations per day.

“Suicidal ideation or suicidal thoughts are regarded as an indicator of serious mental and emotional distress, and repeated episodes may lead to self-harm.

“There is also no new funding to expand the programme for eating disorders services in 2023.

“Specialist eating disorder teams have been associated with faster recovery, higher patient satisfaction, lower costs, lower rates of inpatient admission and better case identification and to find out there is no additional funding this year is very concerning.

“Eating disorders have the highest mortality of any psychiatric diagnosis.

“The government’s failure to resources early intervention psychosis is a blatant disregard of their duty of care to those experiencing mental health difficulties.

“Each year in this state, an estimated 1,500 people develop a psychotic disorder for the first time.

“Psychosis is associated with the most serious and disabling conditions treated in mental health services. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, delusional disorder, drug-induced psychosis, and severe depression are the key diagnoses seen in early intervention psychosis services.

“Psychosis is a serious mental illness. However, early intervention in psychosis research internationally has demonstrated that people recover with the right specialist help.

“The adult ADHD teams accept referrals from both adult and child community mental health teams.

“There is a modified pathway for young adults transitioning from Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

“We heard from the Mental Health Commission’s report into CAMHS that young people are falling off a cliff edge when they transition from CAMHS to adult mental health services, and many are lost to follow-up.

“Having no new funding for Adult ADHD services in 2023 means that even more of our young people could fall through the cracks.

“We are approaching Budget 2024 and if the budget for this year is anything to go by, then we can expect the same smoke and mirrors approach to mental health funding.

“The government says mental health is a priority, but Ministers are speaking out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to the provision of mental health care.”

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