Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Mayo Cllr. Lisa Chambers says mental health services, and particularly youth mental health services have almost disappeared under this Government.  Reform measures carried out under successive Fine Gael Ministers have led to major gaps in the system.

Cllr. Chambers said, “Over the past five years this Government has broken a series of promises in relation to mental health and have left charitable organisations like Pieta House and Aware to pick up the pieces.  Fine Gael and Labour made some early progress in implementing some of the measures contained in “A Vision for Change” but those improvements have now stalled and over the past number of budgets we have seen money diverted away from mental health services to other aspects of the health system.

“There are major staff and beds shortages and the money which was to be ringfenced for mental health has simply not materialised.  Here in Mayo, services have been severely scaled back, with people travelling to Tuam to avail of the services provided by Pieta House.

“The closure of beds in psychiatric units in a number of hospitals has compounded an already serious situation.  Patients are now being sent to UHG, which is already suffering from massive capacity issues.  Staff at that hospital have expressed concerns about patient safety on numerous occasions, but no action has been taken.

“Fianna Fáil wants to ensure that mental health issues are treated in the community and not hidden away in isolation.  We are committing €200m to fund and deliver safe quality services in Mayo and across the country”.