Will The Additional €84million Change Our Mental Health System? #WorldMentalHealthDay #NowWereTalking

This time last year, when the Government released their budget with a comparatively pithy “€35 million” dedicated solely for mental health purposes, I went on an almighty rant. Having had personal experience of the mental health “services” in this country, €35million wasn’t even going to touch the sides. Now that yesterday’s budget is allocating over double the amount – €84million to be exact – that has to be better, right? Or is it an unnerving case of “the money’s there, we just don’t have the experts to help in this regard”?

Having dealt with Psychological Society of Ireland through working with TheJournal.ie, the following statement from the PSI (with over 2,800 members, is the learned and professional body for Psychology in the ROI) has just made its way to my inbox…

“The announcement by the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, in his 2018 Budget speech is most timely – the PSI only last month submitted a response to the Houses of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care. The response from the Psychological Society outlines some recommended actions based on the Joint Oireachtas Committee’s Second Interim Report on the Future of Mental Health Care. The Society hopes that the increase in funding will be beneficial to the recommendations made to the Joint Oireachtas Committee. Among the recommendations were:

  • The PSI strongly asserts that in moving forward with quality mental health care in Ireland it is essential that the concepts of leadership and clinical leadership in mental health are brought into line with international best practice.
  • The PSI supports the identified need for 24/7 mental health services in the community but there is concern that the nature of the services provided should be considered carefully. It is crucial that the support received is primarily psychosocial in nature and that in addition to receiving a comprehensive and therapeutic assessment when presenting in crisis, individuals can be provided with a treatment plan and ongoing intervention to address the psychosocial difficulties that led to their crisis and psychological distress. It is also important that 24/7 mental health services are embedded within community settings as opposed to hospital Emergency Departments.
  • The PSI recommends that the State prioritises increasing the number of forensic mental health in-patient beds, including expediting the development of planned regional forensic in-patient units, to reflect norms across comparable Western democracies.”

OK, so we’re still looking for some form of Government subsidised talk therapy, as well as designated mental health services for minors as opposed to them having them stay in adult facilities; and some sort of tiered mental health system where it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario, off to the nuthouse type scenario – but it’s a step in the right direction nonetheless… Isn’t it?

Until we have a mental health service “which reflects norms across comparable Western democracies”, let’s just keep talking – especially to our young people. According to the World Health Organisation:

“Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated. In terms of the burden of the disease among adolescents, depression is the third leading cause. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. Harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents is a major issue in many countries and can lead to risky behaviours such as unsafe sex or dangerous driving… Fortunately, there is a growing recognition of the importance of helping young people build mental resilience, from the earliest ages, in order to cope with the challenges of today’s world… Prevention begins with being aware of and understanding the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness. Parents and teachers can help build life skills of children and adolescents to help them cope with everyday challenges at home and at school.”

For the full article, make your way here.

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