Today the Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler, TD celebrates World Mental Health Day.
Today, and indeed World Mental Health Month for October, shines a spotlight on mental health. It provides further opportunities to raise awareness of mental health, reduce mental health stigma and promote the broad range of services and supports available to people in communities across the country.
Minister Butler commented that:
While we have much more work to do, there have been significant achievements made so far this year to promote positive mental health, early intervention, and enhance access to mental health services and supports for all individuals. There have been huge strides made in the area of digital mental health services. One example is MyMind which provides free online counselling, in 17 languages, to communities nationwide. It currently delivers approximately 4,000 appointments each month.
As part of the HSE’s digital mental health strategy, it has recently partnered with digital health company, SilverCloud Health, on a national roll out of digital cognitive behaviour therapy to address depression and anxiety in Ireland in an effort to make mental health support more widely available. Referrals can be made from Primary Care Psychology, the National Counselling Service, Jigsaw and GPs across Ireland, enabling people to access essential supports within 24 hours of referral.
Significant progress has been made on the HSE Perinatal Mental Health Model of Care, which supports the mental health needs of women before, during and after pregnancy. Further investment, announced this week, will provide for an additional four midwives and one consultant who will join an existing network of 21 senior midwifes who have specialist expertise in the area of perinatal mental health across the 19 maternity services. This development marks a monumental milestone in mental health to ensure the full and complete resourcing and implementation of the specialist mental health teams associated with this model of care, so that women across the country can access these vital services. All posts are now in place or currently under recruitment.
Minister Butler continued that:
Earlier this year, the Taoiseach announced €10 million in once off mental health funding. I’m delighted to say that we are finalising work on initiatives under this funding, including enhanced signposting and access to existing mental health services and supports; initiatives for children, young people and students; and additional psychosocial responses, recognising that people will require varying levels of support.
Work is also progressing across the country to reduce the number of children and young people waiting over 12 months to access primary care psychology, including through the recruitment of new staff and increased hours of service.
Ahead of the announcement of Budget 2022 next week, Minister Butler concluded that;
I am fully committed to ensuring the continued improvement of mental health services next year, including in areas such as out of hours supports, CAMHS, the national mental health clinical programmes, including eating disorders, and many other areas.
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