Mental Health Reform, the national coalition on mental health, has welcomed today’s announcement (03/02/2016) by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny that the General Election will be held on Friday 26th February. The coalition is asking voters to use the next three weeks to remind all General Election candidates to make mental health a priority.
Shari McDaid, Director of Mental Health Reform, said: “We’ve seen general agreement and some manifesto promises from political parties on mental health, but what we really need now is effective action. Mental health difficulties touch people of all ages and backgrounds, and Ireland’s rate of suicide is still worryingly high. Candidates need to realise that mental health is an important issue for hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland.”
“Although there has been progress in recent years, people are still having long waits in A&E, and many particularly vulnerable people such as those with an addiction or disability are not getting the care they need. Services are stretched and understaffed. It’s time to challenge candidates to say what they will do to improve Ireland’s mental health”, Dr McDaid continued.
“Voters need a clear signal from all political parties that they will make mental health a priority, if elected. The #Ourstateofmind campaign is asking all candidates and parties to commit to specific actions that will make a real difference, including:
- a nationwide school programme to build good mental health;
- access to 24/7 crisis supports;
- easy access to counselling;
- a right to advocacy support, to help people with mental health difficulties access services;
- advance healthcare directives, to give people the right to make choices about their own mental health treatment.
If the next Government doesn’t include these issues in their Programme for Government, they’ll be missing a unique opportunity to develop a mental health system that works to prevent mental health difficulties and support recovery”, concluded Dr McDaid.