News & Media

New Mental Health Policy must be fully resourced

17 June 2020

Statement by Senator Annie Hoey
Spokesperson on Higher Education, Innovation and Research

Responding to the publication of the new national mental health policy, Labour Senator Annie Hoey has said that the proposals must be fully resourced to ensure the implementation roadmap is delivered on, as no costings or future budget requirements have been provided today.

Senator Hoey said:

“Today’s document ‘Sharing the Vision – a Mental Health Policy for Everyone’, and the Programme for Government published this week both contain significant commitments aimed at improving our national mental health and delivering improved services, but without adequate resourcing it will not be delivered on.

“There is an implementation plan provided today, but no costings or detail on the type of budget commitments needed to deliver on what we all know is needed.

“Ireland currently has one of the highest rates of mental health illness in Europe. One in four people in our society will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. Mental health issues have becoming increasingly prevalent amongst our youth with the increased pressures – both online and offline – that they face.

“We know that over 90% of mental health needs can be successfully treated within a Primary Care setting, with less than 10% being referred to specialist community based mental health teams. Assessment, prevention and early-intervention is critical to alleviating health issues and taken pressure off stretched CAMHS services.

“That alone will require significant additional investment in services, and the hiring of more frontline staff. While a new strategy is welcome, it will not become reality unless there is a real financial commitment. It is disappointing that today no figures have been provided on what will be needed to ensure this plan becomes a reality.

“We also know that Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our collective mental health with so many people struggling with anxiety, loss and fear, so it is essential that our services are adequately resourced and staffed in the months and years ahead."