Party Manifestos and Mental Health

Read the Mental Health Reform Manifesto

What the main political parties are saying about mental health in their 2011 election manifestos.

Fianna Fail

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The National Mental Health strategy – A Vision for Change is being implemented and, to date, development funding totaling €51 million has been allocated to the HSE.

Fine Gael

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13.6 Mental Health Matters

Fine Gael policy on mental health incorporates the recommendations of A Vision for Change. We are committed to reducing the stigma of mental illness, ensuring early and appropriate intervention and vastly improving access to modern mental health services in the community.

13.6.1 Early and Appropriate Intervention

Primary Care: Under FairCare, modern purpose built Primary Care Centres will accommodate a range of healthcare specialists such as GPs, nurses and speech and language therapists for example, as well as mental health specialists such as psychologists and counsellors.

Community Teams: Fine Gael will develop community mental health teams and specialist services as outlined in A Vision for Change to ensure early access to more appropriate services for adults and children. This staffing of these teams will be funded by a reallocation of resources within mental health services.

13.6.2 Opportunity and Reform

Suicide: Fine Gael is committed to implementing Reach Out, the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, and will increase funding for the National Office for Suicide Prevention to €10 million to reduce the incidence of suicide and self-harm, improve suicide prevention strategies and develop better bereavement support services.

Psychiatric Institutions: Fine Gael will close unsuitable psychiatric institutions moving patients to more appropriate community-based facilities. Resources, arising from the sale of psychiatric institutions, will be ring-fenced for the development of mental health services.

Central Mental Hospital: Fine Gael is committed to developing a new Central Mental Hospital.

Mental Health Act: Fine Gael will review the Mental Health Act 2001 and update it in line with the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

13.6.3 Universal Health Insurance

UHI: Insurance packages under UHI will incorporate a range of mental health services including mental health assessment, access to mental health treatment and where necessary in-patient services.

Green Party

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  • Ensure a minimum of 12% of the health budget will go to mental health.
  • In order to realise the commitments made in ‘A Vision for Change’, we will introduce
  • legislation to ensure that mental health services move from institutional settings to
  • the community.
  • Make appropriate amendments to the Mental Health Act 2001 to address concerns
  • regarding involuntary committals and procedures.
  • Ensure that adequate support services for mental health are put in place as part of all primary care teams.
  • Initiate cross departmental action on mental health, bringing together departments with responsibility for social inclusion, disability, employment and education.
  • Ensure the continuation of the HSE-National Office of Suicide Prevention LGBT Mental Health Programme.


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Labour’s proposals to reform healthcare and introduce universal health insurance will incorporate mental health care, both through a strengthened role for GPs, and through the ongoing development of Community Mental Health Teams and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Teams, as resources allow. Given the central role of primary care in our reforms, we will take action to ensure that GPs and other professionals at primary level have the skills and up-to-date knowledge to identify and treat mental health problems, or to refer patients on to the most appropriate care provider.

Labour will work with health providers and charitable organisations to explore how a nationwide early intervention ‘walk-in’ service for young people experiencing mental health difficulties, based on the ‘Jigsaw’ service operating in Galway, might be developed from within existing resources. Labour will also endeavour to end the practice of placing children and adolescents in adult psychiatric wards.

Labour will comprehensively review the Mental Health Act (2001) in consultation with service-users, carers and other stakeholders, informed by human rights standards, and introduce a Mental Capacity Bill that accords with Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

To ensure a joined-up approach to mental health in the community, we will establish cross-departmental group to ensure that good mental health is a policy goal across the range of people’s life experience including housing, education and employment.

Labour will address the high rate of suicide, including a review of the current practice whereby caring family members are frequently given little or no information to assist them in the on-going care of loved ones who have been discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt, a psychotic episode or other serious mental illness.

Sinn Fein

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  • Develop health services on an all-Ireland basis, progressing from increased co-operation to integration of services on the island.
  • Improving accountability and transparency in planning and financing mental health service reform.
  • Modernise mental health legislation in line with the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Promoting cross-departmental action to combat social exclusion, prejudice and discrimination against people with mental health problems.
  • Ring-fence 12% of annual Department of Health budget for mental health services in line with World Health Organisation recommendations.
  • Develop and promote suicide prevention strategies.
  • Ensure provision of required child and adolescent community-based mental health services and end the placement of children in adult in-patient facilities.

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