Current shortfall in mental health services across Ireland must be addressed – Rónán Mullen
A motion calling on the government to ensure access to early assessment and referral to mental health services for asylum seekers in the direct provision system will be debated in Seanad Éireann tomorrow, Wednesday, 29th May.
The motion tabled by Senator Rónán Mullen and supported by Senators Marie Louise O’Donnell, Joan Freeman, Victor Boyhan, Pádraig Ó Céidigh, David Norris and Frances Black notes the current shortfalls in mental health services across the country and calls on the Government to address this issue.
With a particular emphasis on people living in direct provision, the motion calls on the Government to work with the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland to ensure specialist training posts are adequately resourced as well as calling for a designated consultant psychiatrist to be available in areas where direct provision reception centres are located.
Speaking in advance of the motion, Senator Rónán Mullen said:
“It’s very clear from both representations from constituents and the excellent lobby groups working to improve mental health services in Ireland that there are serious and urgent challenges within this sector.
“Adequate services are vital for everyone in the country, including those living in direct provision reception centres. Our percentage spend on mental health services as part of the overall health budget has decreased significantly since the 1980’s and we are all aware of the large number of children and adolescents who are currently waiting for appointments with psychiatrists. Incredibly, almost four hundred are waiting over one year.
“This is not acceptable in Ireland in 2019 where the health spend is bigger than ever before. It is an affront to human dignity when people cannot access the services they need to ensure their mental health and well-being.
Commenting on the fact that Ireland has the fourth-lowest number of in-patient psychiatric beds in the European Union, at 2.3 beds per 1,000 population, Senator Mullen said:
“We are rightly hearing more at second and third level about the need for young people to mind their mental health yet our hospitals don’t have the capacity necessary to deal with patients needing assessment and care.
“I call on my colleagues to support this motion and looking forward to a positive interaction with Government on this urgent issue”, Senator Mullen concluded.
Telephone: Rónán Mullen 087 244 6911
Note to editors: Full text of Motion available here