Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne TD says his party will push for a significant increase in funding for mental health services.

Deputy Browne made the comments after securing a special Dáil debate on the future of mental health services. The debate is scheduled to take place next week.

“The Confidence and Supply Arrangement between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael commits to the full implementation of the ‘A Vision for Change’ policy, and this remains a key priority for us. There has been significant under investment in mental health services in recent years and this practice must change,” said Deputy Browne.

“The future of mental health services cannot be allowed to fall off the Government agenda. I have secured a special Dáil debate on mental health services in Ireland which is due to be held next week. Fianna Fáil will use this debate to push for a significant increase in mental health funding.

“The July 2016 estimate from the Department of Health outlines that the required resources to fully implement ‘A Vision for Change’ is €177.3m, or €35.4m over five years. The funding committed by the Government for 2017 is just €15m, so a significant increase in mental health spending is needed.

“Fianna Fáil will be pushing for the Government to set out how exactly it intends on achieving full implementation of the country’s mental health strategy. We have made it clear that mental health spending can’t be put on the backburner, so it’s time for Fine Gael and their Independent colleagues to spell out their plan for mental health services.

“One key measure which we will be pushing for is the introduction of a multi-annual plan for the development of mental health services. Currently the Government allocates funding to mental health on a year to year basis. This is preventing long term planning and development from taking place. Instead there should be a multi-annual plan so that our mental health services can be developed with certainty,” concluded Deputy Browne.