Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called for a “reimagining of Ireland’s mental health system”.
Teachta Ward was speaking on World Mental Health Day to highlight what is needed to properly address the emergency in our society.
The Dublin West TD said:
“Today is World Mental Health Day, a day for reflection, a day for acknowledging what needs to be done to improve our approach towards mental ill-health.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns highlighted and added to people’s mental ill-health. We were in a crisis before the pandemic, but the last two years have shown the emergency situation we are now facing.
“I was hopeful that with this emergency being front and centre in people’s minds that we would see an appropriate response by government in this year’s budget.
“Unfortunately, today is yet another World Mental Health Day where we have seen the overall percentage of the health budget spend for mental heath decrease. That is unsustainable.
“Last week Sinn Féin held a workshop for youth mental health where the key response was the reimagining of our approach.
“Funding must increase, there is no question about that, but we also need to improve the ease of access to services. We need designated mental health service pathway where there are no ‘wrong doors’.
“Early intervention must be prioritised as most of long-term mental ill-health presents before the age of 25. Investment in our young people’s mental health and wellbeing is investing in the future.
“Most of all, people need a service where they can feel listened to, where they can be given appropriate time and be given the care they need.
“These are the priorities being called for by both service users and staff as well as other key stakeholders. We know what is needed and this must be followed up by response.
“Mental Health is a priority for Sinn Féin and I am hopeful that we will see changes for the better on future World Mental Health Days.”