O’Gorman demands money for mental health

first_img Previous articleGoogle Street View car spotted around LimerickNext articleRiverside picnic and concert for Africa Day admin Advertisement Facebook NewsLocal NewsO’Gorman demands money for mental healthBy admin – May 12, 2009 748 Email Printcenter_img Facilities at Mid Western Regional Hospital unsuitable for minorsTHE economic crisis  should not mean mental health services in Ireland remain underfunded and unequal, says Colm O’Gorman, director of Amnesty International Irish section, critical of the poor state of facilities in Unit 5B in the Mid Western Regional Hospital.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up He points out that in its annual report for 2008 the Inspector for Mental Health Services found that despite having beds for children, the Acute Psychiatric Unit  at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital was unsuitable for the admission of minors. The report, he adds, also called for admissions to St Joseph’s to cease and a full closure plan to be implemented.Said O’Gorman. “We are now three years into the implementation of the government’s mental health policy A Vision for Change and we still do not have an adequate implementation plan. “When it was launched many campaigners welcomed the policy because it promised an overhaul in how services are provided to enable the move from institutional care to care in the community. “At that time, Minister Harney announced an additional €25 million in funding and assured that further investment would continue. “It also recognised the crucial importance of having service users centrally involved in planning and decision-making. “But three years into the policy progress is painfully slow while funds under A Vision for Change have simply not materialised”. O’Gorman told the Post that in the 2006 and 2007 Budgets the mental health sector was allocated approximately €25 million to develop this policy but the whereabouts of much of it remains a mystery. Millions were diverted into spending gaps in other areas of the HSE. “In Budget 2008, there was no allocation at all and this year again mental health service users have not received the required additional funding.“The right to adequate and appropriate mental health services is a fundamental human right. It is enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Ireland ratified in 1990. But this right is far from a reality for the majority of people seeking services today”.As far back as 1982, he recalled,  the Government promised to deliver four secure units for people who might be at risk of harming others. In 2006, the promise was for five units. In 2008, there are still no units.“Because of a lack of facilities children are still being placed in adult psychiatric facilities. Figures from the Mental Health Commission show that almost 200 children were admitted to adult centres from January to October 2008.“Specialist mental health services, such as for people with eating disorders or brain injuries, are largely unavailable outside of Dublin.“It might be argued that we cannot afford to spend money on mental health. Amnesty International would respond that at a time of economic crisis when demand on mental health services in increasing, investment in mental health services is even more urgent.“Last September, the Mental Health Commission report, The Economics of Mental Health Care in Ireland, estimated the direct annual cost of poor mental health in Ireland at a staggering €3 billion, or 2% of GNP. In this economic climate, surely we should be increasing, not decreasing, investment in mental health services”. Twitter Linkedin WhatsApplast_img read more