29/04/2016

Sinn Féin Condemns Decision To Cut Mental Health Budget

A decision by the government to remove €12 million from the mental health budget has been condemned by Sinn Féin's TD, Dessie Ellis.

Speaking ahead of a protest held on Thursday, Deputy Ellis said: "People suffering with mental health issues are strong, they deal with great pressures every day but they need our support to survive and recover. They need the support of their family, their communities but most of all they need the support of mental health services funded by the state.

"The Minister has said that the move to reallocate €12 million of the mental health budget this year is not a 'raid'. It is an attack on the services that so many vulnerable people depend on. It is the most pathetic and undignified decision by this department in recent memory.

"Mental health services have been underfunded for decades. Those who work in mental health have been left to scramble and to scrimp in order to maintain the essential services they have provide. Cuts to mental health services like this, undermine that good work. It attacks the morale of these workers and it tells those who need support that they do not matter.

"The last thing a person struggling with mental health issues needs is to be told they do not matter to the country they live in, that their lives are less important. That is what this cut does.

Deputy Ellies said that the budget cut "must not go ahead" and that mental health services needed further investment to improve services.

"We have a crisis in mental health exacerbated by austerity - more austerity will do untold damage. We have done good work to plan a reform of mental health, workers in the sector have done their best to implement it and those who depend on these services have adapted to these changes. It is time for the department to play its part by providing the funding needed," Deputy Ellis added.

(MH/CD)

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