Before looking at the hard cold dry accounting figures of the Irish Governments 2014 Budget for Mental Health Services .The crisis in Irish mental health and its services has to be put in context in order to bring the hardship and devastation of the Government cuts to light .
The Central Statistics Office published figures that 507 people took their lives in 2012.Bear in mind that this is the reported suicide figures the actual figures are thought to be higher .Many deaths that are officially reported as single car crash accidents are suicides and still even to this day many families due to shame from society are forced to say the death was an accident.
When analysed by region the suicide rates are even more alarming , the suicide rate in Limerick city was 26.6 per 100,000, while it was 25.6 in Cork city. 81 per cent of deaths recorded as suicide last year were male.
How many more young men from Cork , Limerick and the rest of Ireland have to die before the Government and Society realises that this is a crisis ? How many more parents have to bury their sons and daughters before their is a national outcry ? How many more friends ,brothers and sisters have to agonisingly wonder why did this happen ? Enough is enough!
When the Government decided that road deaths were too high , they made reducing road deaths a priority ,made appropriate funding available , took action and now Ireland is an example in how European roads can be made safer . Ireland ranks 5th in reducing road deaths since 2001 and 15th out of the 27 EU Member States in reducing road deaths among younger road users, aged 15-30.
Why cant this happen with suicide and mental health in Ireland ?Why cant the appropriate funding be made available ? Why cant suicide prevention be made a priority by Government and action taken ? So many families have been touched by the devastation of suicide and very sadly and tragically even the Government has . The time to act is now.
Now in that context lets look at the Mental Health Services Budget figures .
I cannot defend or stand by the Government’s decision to allocate only €20 million to Mental Health Services in Budget 2014 . The year 2013 saw the Mental Health Services Budget stolen into a HSE budget overspend and in the 2014 Budget the Government cut the Mental Health Budget by €15 million. Out of the 477 mental health staff that were promised for community mental health there has been a mere four per cent put in place.
The figures speak for themselves . Clearly the Government despite its best intentions does not realise that there is a crisis in Mental Health in Ireland and Ireland’s young male suicide rates are not acceptable in any country including ours.
Clearly Mental Health and Ireland’s alarming youth suicide rate is not a priority for the Government .They say money talks . And what the Government is saying loudly and clearly is we don’t care enough about Ireland’s youth to make a meaningful investment in the mental health services that could save your neighbours , your friends ,or your son or your daughters life.
“Minister of State Lynch welcomes provision of €20m ringfenced for mental health in Budget 2014 ” – Dept of Health
“Ireland showcases credentials to remain a road safety champion in Europe” – RSA.ie
“If Health Is Angola Than Mental Health Must Be North Korea” – Mad Pride Ireland
“Official suicide figures reveal ‘alarming’ regional picture” – Irish Times Jun 1, 2013,