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Check out party manifestos and see who’s saying what on mental health

We take a look at who is saying what on mental health in the manifestos of political parties. Mental Health Reform’s recommendations are highlighted.

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[toggle title=”Anti Austerity Alliance – People Before Profit” state=”Closed”]

The AAA-PBP manifesto is Common Principles: Radical Alternatives & Real Equality. It doesn’t make any specific commitments on mental health but on health there is a commitment to build a National Health Service.

Awaiting the publication of the AAA manifesto.

People Before Profit’s manifesto, Share the Wealth: An Alternative View for Ireland, make commitments to:
• Create a National Health Service free to all at the point of access, with greater investment in all areas including mental health,
• Promote alternative treatments and therapies instead of over-reliance on prescription medication for a range of physical and mental health challenges,
• Increase the number of Primary Care Teams (PCTs) and the Primary Care Centres to provide early and prompt responses to mental health difficulties;
• Abolish prescription charges,
Increase funding for Mental Health and Disability Services with at least 25% of the Mental Health budget going to Child mental health,
• Implement ‘Vision for Change’ staffing recommendations, and
• More closely integrate treatment of drug dependency and mental health.


[toggle title=”Fianna Fáil” state=”Closed”]

The 2015 Fianna Fáil policy document Improving Mental Health makes specific commitments to:
Carry out a review of A Vision for Change and draft a follow-on policy for 2016-2026 that has a recovery and partnership approach,
Implement the recommendations of the Expert Group on the Review of the Mental Health Act, 2001,
Ensure cross-governmental coordination to address the interlinked issues of homelessness and mental health difficulties,
Support children’s mental health by ensuring mental health promotion, early intervention, and improved access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and
Allocate an additional €40 million per annum to mental health services.

In their February 2016 health policy Patient Services First, Fianna Fáil make the following commitments on mental health:
• Establish a new statutory National Mental Health Authority to be charged with leading an all out national programme to promote positive attitudes to mental health and to reduce the incidence of self-harm and suicide, and to ring-fence funding for mental health services,
Carry out a full review of what still remains to be achieved under A Vision for Change and bring forward on updated plan for 2016 to 2026,
• Fund mental health services so that staffing levels reach the levels envisaged by A Vision for Change, amounting to an increase in staff to 12,000, and
• Abolish prescription charges on a phased basis.

In their election manifesto An Ireland for all, Fianna Fáil make the following commitments related to mental health:
• Provide training and support for schools to help them in identifying and tackling cyber bullying ,
• Create a Cabinet level Minister for Disability,
• Ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the end of 2016, and
• Promote and Support the Employment of People with Disabilities.


[toggle title=”Fine Gael” state=”Closed”]

The Fine Gael manifesto, Let’s Keep the Recovery Going, makes specific commitments to:
Increase funding for mental health by €175 million,
Publish a plan for the achievement of faster access to comprehensive and appropriate mental health services, building upon A Vision for Change,
Continue to resource adult and child mental health services in the community, ensuring timely access to services for all vulnerable groups, including LGBT people,
• Extend youth mental health services, such as Jigsaw, which is free to access and does not require GP referral,
Consult on how schools could introduce new subject choices into the curriculum, including mental health and well-being 
Extend the Counselling in Primary Care service to more people,
• Ensure greater access to counselling and psychological services,
 Establish an independent patient advocacy service,
• Support mental health recovery by offering follow-up training and booster self-help courses 
• Expand the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS),
• Ensure integration of psychotherapy, counselling and social care services with primary care teams,
• Ensure  appropriate amendments to the Mental Health Act 2001 to address concerns regarding involuntary committals and procedures,
• Build on reduced waiting times for child and adolescent services,
• Support mental health recovery through accessing appropriate social housing with tenancy sustainment services.


[toggle title=”Green Party” state=”Closed”]

The Green Party manifesto, Think Ahead, Act Now, make specific commitments to:
Begin implementation of mental health reform with an additional €35m per annum
Fully implement and resource A Vision for Change,
• Reintroduce guidance provision in secondary schools with an investment of €32m a year, to support the mental health of students,
Provide mental health care in the community that is  adequately resourced , with hospital admission as a last resort, where possible,
Ensure independent regulation of Psychotherapy, Counselling and Psychology services,
• Ensure integration of access to psychotherapy, counselling and social care services into all Community Mental Health Teams and primary
care teams, including the Child and Adolescent service,
• Appoint a Mental Health Promotion Officer in schools to provide emotional health programmes,
• Ensure the nationwide implementation of the SCAN crisis response service for people who are suicidal,
• Ensure the full resourcing of a range of therapeutic services, including community supports, for women experiencing peri and post natal depression,
• Integrate addiction services with mental health and social care.


[toggle title=”Labour Party” state=”Closed”]

The Labour Party manifesto, Standing Up for Ireland’s Future, and their mental health policy, Better Mental Health, make specific commitments to:
• Provide timely and free access to mental health care for all children and adults,
Extend the Counselling in Primary Care service to all 16- 25 year olds on completion of eMental Health courses and with a GP’s
Continue to ring-fence mental health funding,
Develop a new service to address dual diagnosis (addiction and mental health), headed by a new HSE National Director for Alcohol and Addiction,
Extend the opening hours of Community Mental Health Centres into the late evening and through the weekend, and extend the Jigsaw service to all major towns and cities,
• Prioritise the growth of Psychiatry of Old Age Teams in areas with older than average populations,
Ensure early intervention and well integrated care and support between TUSLA, education and mental health services,

• Extend the level of State investment in suicide prevention strategies in line with the Connecting for Life strategy, including the recruitment of an additional 50 suicide prevention nurses,
• Establish a mental health awareness and advertising programme  to build resilience and breakdown prejudices.


[toggle title=”Renua Ireland” state=”Closed”]

The Renua Ireland manifesto Rewarding Work, Rebuilding Trust makes specific commitments to:
Implement in full the recommendations of Mental Health Reform’s 6 point mental health manifesto, and
Increase the share of the health budget for mental health services to 7%.

[toggle title=”Sinn Féin” state=”Closed”]

The Sinn Féin manifesto, For a Fair Recovery, includes specific commitments to:
Increase the mental health budget,
Complete the rollout of Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurses (SCAN),
• Recruit mental health nurses specifically to liaise with homeless services, commencing with 5 in year one,
Increase provision for people with mental health difficulties and increase funding for counselling in primary care,
Increase the number of inpatient child and adolescent beds to end the inappropriate admission of children to adult psychiatric units,
• Increase Disability Allowance by €20,
• Tackle barriers to employment for people with disabilities.


[toggle title=”Social Democrats” state=”Closed”]

The Social Democrats’ manifesto Building a Better Future, 2016-2026 includes specific commitments to:
Deliver all aspects of A Vision for Change,
Introduce a curriculum to develop children’s mental health and well-being,
• Restore guidance counsellors to all secondary schools,
Ensure that dedicated mental health teams are on call 24/7,
Resource and expand the Counselling in Primary Care service, and
Enact the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in conjunction with new legislation on Advance Healthcare Directives.



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