A Galway city councillor is calling for €50 million to be set aside in Budget 2015 for mental health funding, following publication of figures showing one in seven adults in Ireland suffers mental health problems annually.
Fianna Fáil Galway City Central councillor Ollie Crowe made his call following publication of the Mental Health Commission’s annual report. The report highlighted the ‘one in seven’ figure and outlined how mental health policy is being implemented unevenly and inconsistently across the State.
The Programme for Government pledged €35 million a year annually for the provision of mental health services, but Budget 2014 actually cut funding to €20 million. Cllr Crowe said the Government can “meet their promises in this area” by providing €50 million “to make up for the cut” in last year’s budget.
Cllr Crowe was also critical of Fine Gael/Labour for allowing the number of mental health service staff dropping by 1,000 posts - a decline of more than 10 per cent - between 2009 and 2013. Almost two thirds of mental health positions in the HSE West had not been filled, with 60 out of 97 allocated positions having not been taken up.
Furthermore only 44 per cent of inpatient units meet the minimum staffing criteria as outlined by the Mental Health Commission. Cllr Crowe described this as “an appalling statistic”.
“The Government has failed to deal with the allocation of mental health resources in an appropriate manner,” he said. “Galway West Government deputies have a duty to ensure that no longer continues, beginning with next month’s Budget.”