Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne says a new Bill put forward by his party will help address long running deficiencies in Ireland’s mental health services.

‘The Mental Health Parity Bill 2017’ addresses the inequality of mental health treatment by placing mental health services at the centre of all key decisions taken by the Department of Health.

Deputy Browne said, “Serious issues have been identified in our mental health services which remain to be resolved. The Vision for Change report, first published in 2006, set out a bleak picture regarding the state of our mental health services. However over a decade on from its publication much of its key recommendations remain to be implemented.

“It’s clear that mental health wellbeing is not treated the same as physical wellbeing by key decision makers in our health system. The Bill we have put forward aims to address this problem by introducing a new provision which will compel senior decision makers in the Department of Health to treat mental health on a par with physical wellbeing.

“The most recent report into the Vision for Change, published last July, notes the importance of creating a parity of esteem between mental health and physical wellbeing. The Bill we have put forward will help achieve this. It recognises that poor mental health generally leads to a greater risk of poor physical health, and sets out a pathway for addressing staffing shortages and under resourcing in our mental health services.

“It is imperative that all organisations within our health system meet parity obligations and this Bill will help bring Ireland into line with international standards on the provision of mental healthcare.”