Mental health services are often under-staffed, or not staffed at all. Only Labour is promising €1 billion/year of additional money for health (above and beyond funding to cover population growth). We’ll add €800 million to current spending and €200 million to capital. This funding is what is needed to deliver the much-needed staff, especially for mental health services.
Labour will redirect funding to local primary care centres, which will bring health services closer to communities including medical tests, early intervention/prevention of illness, disability supports, eldercare and mental health services. They will also help people to manage long-term disease like diabetes.
Labour will deliver on child and adolescent mental health services. Ireland has a very high suicide rate among teenagers. As a society, we must do everything in our power to prevent suicides. We must examine the root causes that lead so many young people to take their own lives or to engage in self-harm. One essential missing piece is the lack of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in so many parts of the country. Staffing these services is a challenge, but as part of Labour’s wider commitment to staff local primary care centres, CAMHS can be properly staffed in every area to deal with the wide range of mental health issues presenting among children and young people.
Labour will require all schools to ensure children receive a minimum number of hours of physical activity every week. This will reduce obesity and improve physical and mental health. Physical activity can include formal PE but also initiatives like “Daily Mile” walks and runs, bike-to-school schemes and walking buses.
Labour will develop a stronger national LGBT+ strategy, which will include tackling discrimination in schools and workplaces, and improving the mental health of LGBT+ people.
Labour will institute a process to improve prison conditions, and to address the disproportionate number of people in prison with mental illness, learning disabilities and brain injuries.