Almost 2,700 extra staff need to be employed in our mental health services if the State is to honour the commitments made under the Vision for Change policy.

New figures released to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne reveal a shortfall of 2,671 on the Vision for Change recommendations – a policy which was published 13 years ago.

“9,938 staff were employed across our mental health services in January 2019 – that’s an increase of 140 on the previous year. If that rate of recruitment continues we should have the required numbers for the population of Ireland in 2019 by 2038”, said Deputy Browne.

“A Vision for Change marked a radical break from the previous mental health care policies, by adopting a partnership and person focussed approach. Yet thirteen years on, we continue to fall well short of what people need.

“The government needs to up its game on mental health recruitments. Last year the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care heard evidence of cumbersome and protracted recruitment processes.  This needs to change; there should be the option for local services to have the power to recruit themselves rather than having to go through a national process at all times.

“It is clear that the current situation is unsustainable. Long waiting lists for Child and Adolescent Mental Health services stem from the fact that the CAMHS service has barely over half the staff required.  Unfortunately, CAMHS is not the only mental health service suffering due to problems with recruitment – waiting lists and bed shortages are common throughout the service.

“Unless the government delivers the resources and staff to our mental health services, we will be waiting another 20 years for the 2006 A Vision for Change recommendations to be fully implemented”, concluded Deputy Browne.