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Mental Health Reform Letter to An Taoiseach Micheál Martin 04.10.21

An Taoiseach, 
Mr Micheál Martin, TD 
Government Buildings 
Merrion St Upper 
Dublin 2 

4th October 2021 

Dear Taoiseach, 

We, the undersigned members of Mental Health Reform, call on the Irish Government to prioritise funding our mental health services in the upcoming budget.  

Over the last 18 months, our nation has faced challenges like never before. During the pandemic, your Government’s focus has understandably been on tackling the direct impact of COVID-19. As we move to the next phase of the pandemic, it is time to make mental health a national priority. Building a culturally inclusive and responsive mental health service will be a critical element in how our society rebuilds.  

Before the crisis, many people with mental health difficulties were already struggling to access the basic support needed to stay well. COVID-19 has adversely affected the physical and mental well-being of many people in Ireland. Thousands more people have come forward to access mental health services during this difficult period. There has been a disproportionate impact on marginalised groups who face significant challenges in accessing mental health care. 

Evidence is emerging of a shadow pandemic, where the burden of trauma will have a profound impact on mental health and primary care services for many years. This needs a clear and comprehensive response from the Government, including a step-change in funding levels.    

In order to achieve a credible budget for mental health in 2022, additional funding is required. This is essential to addressing the historical underinvestment in our mental health services, the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and to progress the implementation of our national mental health policy, Sharing the Vision. Mental Health Reform recommends that investment of at least €85M is needed to address these areas - €65M to be allocated to the development of new mental health services and €20M to meet the costs of existing levels of service. 

Now more than ever we need a fit-for-purpose, culturally inclusive, responsive mental health system in which people can access the care they need when they need it. The future of our mental health services will be shaped by political action taken now. Together, we can lead the world in delivering a COVID-19 recovery that puts the nation’s mental health at its heart. We look forward to working with you to deliver on what we believe is our shared agenda.  

 

Yours sincerely, 

Fiona Coyle, CEO, Mental Health Reform 
Tom Maher, Director of Services, St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services 
Maeve Royston, Senior Manager, Irish Council for Psychotherapy 
Ian Power, CEO, Spunout 
Dr Sheila Gilheany, CEO, Alcohol Action Ireland 
Sharon Lane, CEO, Dysbraxia Ireland 
Lisa Molloy, CEO, Irish Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy 
Fionn Fitzpatrick, Project Co-ordinator, Gateway Mental Health Project 
Patricia Towey, Information and Services Coordinator, Huntington’s Disease Association Ireland 
Catherine Bond, CEO, Irish Foster Care Association 
Hugh Morley, Head of Business, Cork Counselling Services 
Ken Kilbride, CEO, ADHD Ireland 
Rosie Bissett, CEO, Dyslexia Association of Ireland 
Angela Keegan, CEO, Threshold Training Network 
Lochlann Scott, CEO, Helplink Mental Health 
Fiona Tuomey, CEO, HUGG 
Shane Kelly, CEO, The Psychological Society of Ireland 
Ruaidhri O'Connor, CEO, Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists 
Martin Rogan, CEO, Mental Health Ireland 
Caroline Norris, National Operations Manager, Shine 
Moninne Griffith, CEO, BeLonG To Youth Services 
Elaine Austin, CEO, Pieta House 
Clare Austick, President, Union of Students in Ireland 
Jacinta Hastings, CEO, BodyWhys 
Patricia Scully, Chair, Irish Council for Psychotherapy   
Dara Ryder, CEO, AHEAD 
Audrey Lonergan, President, Irish Association for Infant Mental Health 
Martina Smith, CEO, Hail 
Niall Mulligan, Executive Director, Samaritans Ireland 
Michèle Kerrigan, CEO, Grow 
Helen Ryle, Chairperson, European Association of Professional Hypnotherapists 
Seán Moynihan, CEO, ALONE 
Mary McHugh, Company Director, Irish Online Counselling & Psychotherapy Service 
Marijke Morris, Chairperson, Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapy 
Áine Daly, Office Manager, National Association for Pastoral Counselling and Psychotherapy 
Samantha McGarry, Chairperson, Family Therapy Association of Ireland 
Vivian Geiran, Chair, Irish Association of Social Workers 
John Church, CEO, ISPCC Childline 
Pat Dennigan, CEO, Focus Ireland 
John Dolan,  CEO, Disability Federation of Ireland 
Sanjay Gulati, Head of Drugs, Health and Homeless, Merchants Quay Ireland 
Kevin Whelan, CEO, Fighting Blindness 
Brendan McCarthy, CEO, Cork Mental Health Foundation 
Carol Moore, Trustee, Dual Diagnosis 
Kevin Burn, CEO, Exchange House Ireland National Travellers Service 
Nick Henderson, CEO, Irish Refugee Council 
Aisling Farrell, CEO, Suicide or Survive 
Sam McGuinness, CEO, Dublin Simon Community 
Ciara O’ Connor Walsh, Director, A Lust for Life 
Thomas McCann, Director, Traveller Counselling Service 
Joseph Duffy, CEO, Jigsaw 
Tanya Ward, CEO, Children’s Rights Alliance 
Dr Caroline Munyi, Migrant Women's Health Coordinator, AkiDwA 
Suzanne Ennis, Clinical Manager, Turn2me 
Fíona Ní Chinnéide, Executive Director, Irish Penal Reform Trust