Sinn Féin TD for Offaly and North Tipperary, Carol Nolan, has today said that figures from the HSE show clearly the failure of current and previous governments to invest in mental health services.
The Vision for Change, published in 2006 recommends that 12,778 full time staff should be employed in the mental health service in 2017, taking into account population increases.
Figures released from the HSE show that just 9,815 whole time equivalents are employed in mental health services across the state in 2017.
“Across the state, child and adolescent mental health services have only 53% of the staff deemed necessary under a Vision for Change, while for adult teams that number if 78%," Nolan explained.
“In HSE area CHO8, the area that covers a significant proportion of the midlands area, including Counties Offaly and Laois, the figures are stark," she added.
“The Child and Adolescent services have just 57% of the staffing levels recommended under a vision for change, with a gap of 76 whole time staff, while the adult service has 80% of the recommended staffing levels with a shortfall of 57 full time staff."
“These figures clearly show the failure of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour Governments to adequately invest in mental health services and implement the vision for change recommendations," Nolan stated.
“Of course, this has had a huge impact on our communities, as a recent UNICEF study shows that Ireland has the fourth highest teen suicide rate in the EU and 22.6% of children aged between 11 and 15 stated that they had experienced two or more psychological symptoms more than once a week."
“The HSE National Vision for Change Working Group states, 'the mainstay of any mental health service is the sector-based Community Mental Health Team,’ yet these teams are being starved of resources and are being consistently asked to do more with less," she continued.
“Sinn Féin has consistently called for more investment in mental health services – in our alternative budget we provided for an additional 14 community mental health teams and investment towards 24/7 crisis support services.”
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