Gerry Adams invited Louth based SOSAD and Dublin’s Southwest Inner City Network into the Dáil last Wednesday 13th July Louth to brief Sinn Féin on the issue of suicide and mental health provision in their areas.
Gerry Adams said: “There is a need for greater support by government for suicide prevention groups and mental health services. SOSAD and the Dublin Southwest Inner City Network have been working on these issues for many years. Sinn Féin has prioritised mental health provision as a key area of work during this Dáil term and we will press the Government to adequately resource and address the gaps in provision in this sector.”
“The Sinn Féin Deputy Leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD has recently been appointed Sinn Féin spokesperson for Mental Health. Mental health must not remain the Cinderella of the health service.”
“It is accepted that one in seven adults will experience mental health challenged during the course of any given year. “Suicide statistics across Ireland are frightening with 459 citizens in this State and approximately 300 in the North dying by suicide in 2014. However, it is generally accepted that the real figure could be much higher with around 1,000 deaths annually.
“The Mental Health Commission’s annual report which recently reviewed the State’s mental Health policy ‘A Vision for Change’ highlighted significant concerns around lack of funding. It is disgraceful that the 2005 target of 8.24% of the total Health Budget being allocated to mental health has still not been achieved.
“This lack of funding is compounded by a staffing crisis, with the Psychiatric Nurses Association stating that there are up to 700 vacant posts within the mental health services.
“At last week’s meeting we heard testimony from people bereaved by suicide and people who had suffered serious mental health issues. I want to thank them for their willingness to tell their story.
“One common refrain through all of their accounts was the persistent issue of citizens at risk of suicide being discharged from A&E departments with no immediate care plan in place. This is totally inadequate. The government and the HSE are failing vulnerable citizens.