Lessons must be learned from shortcomings in implementing mental health policy

Today, on the 13th anniversary of Ireland’s national mental health policy A Vision for Change, Mental Health Reform has called on the Government to learn from the past and to commit to a costed implementation plan for the updated policy due out this year.

“A Vision for Change is today starting its 14th year. While the policy has provided an important framework for the Government’s and HSE’s efforts to improve mental health services during that time, for many people, the vision has not become a reality. More than 6,500 children were waiting for a primary care psychology appointment at the end of May 2018, while many of the services envisaged in the policy were never systematically implemented, including out-of-hours services for children and adults, advocacy services, specialist services for homeless people and people with disabilities, and crisis houses.” Shari McDaid, Director of Mental Health Reform.

Dr. McDaid continued, “It is widely recognised that much time was wasted by not having an implementation plan for A Vision for Change. Such a plan is recommended by the World Health Organisation and Ireland’s Mental Health Commission, and should be the first priority when the refreshed mental health policy is published. The Government must demonstrate that the new mental health policy will be supported by the proper structures to deliver on its recommendations. A costed implementation plan is fundamental to achieving the promise of the next mental health policy.


What is A Vision For Change?

  • The national mental health policy in Ireland.
  • A 10 year strategy for national mental health services.
  • It describes a framework for building and fostering positive mental health across the entire community.
  • It proposes a holistic view of mental illness and recommends an integrated multidisciplinary approach to addressing the biological, psychological and social factors that contribute to mental health problems.
  • It was developed by an expert group, which combined the expertise of different professional disciplines, health service managers, researchers, representatives of voluntary organisations, and service user groups.
  • In the policy, interventions are aimed at maximising recovery from mental illness, and building on the resources within service users and within their immediate social networks to allow them to achieve meaningful integration and participation in community life.






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