Irish Mental Health Needs More Resources

Psychiatrists have called for improved funding and development of mental health services in Ireland. The Irish College of Psychiatrists, in a statement, has pointed out that an example of the lack of priority given to Mental Health is an inpatient unit for children that has been planned for almost 18 years but which has never opened and remains at the planning stage. It says in addition, adult units planned for general hospitals have not been progressed.

The College says it is imperative that mental health policy should in future carry an imperative to translate plans into action and structures.

In a submission to the European Commission on mental health policy in the EU, the psychiatrists’ college says that in recent decades there has been a shift towards developing community mental heath services, but financial issues have prevented full implementation of community teams so the services have remained in transition due to lack of necessary personnel and skills.

The College says due to a lack of investment in educating and training staff in mental health, when funding is obtained for services there is an insufficient number of qualified personnel such a psychologists, occupational therapists, nurses and psychiatrists to staff these services.

It points out that the proportion of the total health budget devoted to mental health services has declined from 11% to 7% in recent years.