Offaly TD says government is failing young people on mental health
Speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday on the proposed Mental Health Parity Bill, Offaly-North Tipperary TD Carol Nolan stated that she “welcomed the initiation of a Bill to enact legislation which will give parity of esteem to mental health alongside physical health.
"For decades we have struggled to adequately finance and operate our physical health medical services, and consequently our mental health medical services have always been put to the back of the line," she said.
"The proposed Fianna Fáil Bill seeks to guarantee equality of esteem for mental health care alongside physical health care however the Bill itself does not set out any proposals or in any way define what medical ‘parity’ for Mental Health would provide for," Nolan claimed.
Carol stated, “we now have a situation where an ever increasing number of children and young people facing mental health difficulties are not receiving age appropriate treatments. It is self-evident that if parity of esteem is to be attained then interventions of equivalence to that of physical health care, and nothing less, would be required."
This would include services such as specialist 24hr psychiatric first-responders which can be deployed with each and every Ambulance dispatch; to psychiatric Consultants and Registrars rostered 24hrs to each and every Emergency Department.
"Community based Primary Care services must, as a matter of course, engage specially trained psychiatric medics in GP services, where presentation with a mental health condition is treated with the same access to qualified medical practitioners as presentation with influenza," Carol stated.
"Mental Health care will only attain parity with physical health care when both are co-located within easy access to any member of the public where the underlying premise is that each and every person at any given time may require mental health care."
Speaking on the consequences of failing to provide adequate mental health care services Deputy Nolan stated that “failure to provide primary care services; late interventions; inadequate diagnosis and delays in treatment have contributed to the horrendous suicide rates across this country; prolonged suffering of people with treatable anxiety or depression based conditions and, the erosion of the quality of life of individuals and their productive participation in society.”
With regard to funding the services Deputy Nolan called on Government to commit adequate budget provision for Mental Health Services.
“Mental Health parity will require investment in mental health on par with physical health to ensure the delivery of primary care interventions and the creation of education and prevention programmes.”
“I want to acknowledge the great work of voluntary organisation such as So Sad, Jigsaw and Pieta House, without whom we would be in immeasurably worse situation than we are at present," she concluded.
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