Ireland’s Mental Health Services – In Serious & Rapid Decay !

2010-10-29:  For those of you who are not fully up to speed with Ireland’s Current Economic Disaster … very painful for some people, but not for all (!) … in the next few weeks, we will be presented with a 4 Year Budget Strategy Plan, which will be verified by the European Commission, in Brussels, and the European Central Bank, in Frankfurt … and also be presented with a Draconian First in a Series of 4 Budgets.  The track record of our Government shows that the most vulnerable groups in our society will be the Primary Targets for fiscal cutting, slashing, pillage and burning.

Which is why I am pleased to align our Organization … Sustainable Design International Ltd … with the following Open Letter to …

  • An Taoiseach (Ireland’s Prime Minister), Mr. Brian Cowan T.D. ;
  • Minister for Finance, Mr. Brian Lenihan T.D. ;
  • Minister for Health & Children, Ms. Mary Harney T.D. ;   and
  • Minister of State for Disability & Mental Health, Mr. John Moloney T.D.

Dear Ministers,

We call on the Irish Government to respond to the Crisis in our Mental Health Services !

Mental Health Services simply cannot be maintained at acceptable levels in a civilized society if there are further cuts in Ireland’s Budget 2011.  They have already been cut unfairly and disproportionately.  Spending is down 9.2% since 2006, and is at 5.3% of the Overall Health Budget – now at its lowest share in modern history.  More than half of all the staff cut from the HSE (Health Service Executive … in 2009 came from the Mental Health Services, despite the fact that they only represent 9% of the HSE’s workforce.

In 2006, the Government’s National Mental Health Policy, ‘A Vision for Change’, promised to end institutionalization and provide modern community-based services.  Yet, progress in developing community services has ground to a halt.  We still have the shameful situation of people living in conditions described by the Inspector of Mental Health Services as “entirely unacceptable and inhumane”; hundreds of children being admitted to adult inpatient mental health units; and large numbers of people with a mild mental or cognitive impairment in Psychiatric Institutions who should not be there in the first place.

We know that there is a financial debacle – but, it is making the mental health crisis worse.  Financial stress, debt and unemployment are putting a massive burden on people’s mental health.  Waiting lists for services are growing as people look for support – rates of suicide and self-harm rose sharply last year !

Any further cuts in Budget 2011 will signal the death knell for ‘A Vision for Change’, and condemn another generation of Irish People to a Mental Health System which is a remnant from the Age of Victorian Asylums.


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