Fianna Fáil has today published proposals aimed at reforming the delivery of mental health services. The ‘Improving Mental Health’ policy document will bring about a community approach to the delivery of mental health services across the country.

Spokesperson on Mental Health Colm Keaveney commented, “Fianna Fáil believes that the provision of mental health services should be a priority for the Government. Far too many people are suffering from mental health issues in isolation and are not receiving the help and support they need from the state.

“We are proposing an enhanced focus and resources for mental health services if elected to Government. Mental health should be taken as seriously as physical health in terms of the deployment of state resources. Fianna Fáil will establish a new national Mental Health Authority to ensure there is a single organisation tasked with coordinating mental health services.

Deputy Keaveney also pledged to review and revamp the ‘Vision for Change’ strategy document which sets out the direction for Mental Health Services in Ireland.

“Sadly, early progress on the Vision for Change strategy has been stalled by a lack of Government commitment since 2011. We will carry out a full review of what is still left to be achieved and will revamp the plan to get it back on track. We will also reinstate an implementation review group which will issue regular reports on the progress being made in delivering the strategy.

Deputy Keaveney also pointed that the current level of funding for our mental health services is insufficient to deliver the staffing levels envisaged by ‘A Vision for Change’.

“Staffing levels are still about 3,000 short what was recommended by ‘A Vision for Change’. In order to increase staffing levels to the 12,000 required under the strategy, it will be necessary to increase funding to mental health from its current levels of circa €791m to €991m. On that basis, we will ensure an increase of €40m year on year.

“Our ultimate aim is to create a society where mental health issues are treated in the community and not hidden away in isolation. We believe the proposals we are putting forward will contribute greatly towards achieving that aim.”

Fianna Fáil Mental Health Policy Document