Legislation to allow for appointment to be published tomorrow
Speaking at a meeting of psychotherapists and counsellors this evening (Tuesday) in Wexford, Fine Gael Limerick TD and President of the Irish Association of Suicidology, Dan Neville, welcomed the decision to publish the legislation to allow for a Director of Mental Health Services within the HSE to be appointed.
“I have been calling for action to be taken in this area for some time now, stressing the critical need for a Director of Mental Health Services to be appointed within the HSE. I am delighted to learn that the legislation to allow for this process to begin will be published tomorrow, ensuring that this role will be filled sooner rather than later.
“Having a Director of Mental Health Services in place will ensure that the €35 million that has been ring-fenced to address mental health issues will not be hived off to other areas, as has been the case in the past, but that it will go to where it is most needed.
“Minister Reilly had given a commitment that a Director would be appointed. I am pleased that he has not prevaricated on the issue and that he is giving this important matter the attention it deserves.
“Mental health issues affect a huge number of families across the country. It is high time we got to grips with it and set about implementing the recommendations of the expert report 'A Vision for Change'.
“How mental health budgets are currently managed is completely disjoined, with the budget for the delivery of services being split across the four Regional Directors of Operations. It is my hope that the new Director will not only take charge of the €35 million allocation but that he/she will take sole responsibility for the entire mental health allocation of €707 million. This will ensure that our mental health and suicide prevention services will be on a par with acute hospital and primary care services, giving those who seek help the assistance they need.
“In attempting to deal with mental health issues and the scourge of suicide in this country our focus has to be on community care and ease of access for people seeking treatment. I am delighted that the publication of the legislation will take place tomorrow and look forward to this vital role being filled in the not too distant future.”