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Minister for Health Simon Harris TD and Minister of State for Mental Health Jim Daly have today published ‘Sharing the Vision – a Mental Health Policy for Everyone’.

‘A Vision for Change’ ended its ten-year-term in 2016 and the mental health landscape in Ireland has changed dramatically since 2006. Sharing the Vision is the successor policy and was agreed by Cabinet two weeks ago.

Minister Harris said: “Sharing the Vision is our new mental health policy and it is a policy for everyone.

“It focuses on key areas – promotion, prevention and early intervention, service access, coordination and continuity of care, social inclusion and accountability and continuous improvement. “Importantly, Sharing the Vision includes an implementation roadmap. It allocates ownership of recommendations to lead agencies and sets time-bound implementation targets against each recommendation’s actions. This will be key to its delivery.

“Its publication comes at a time when our world is rapidly changing, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is my sincere hope that this policy will play an essential role in shaping our responses to these challenges we face now, and those that are to come.

“I want to also thank my Department and particularly my colleague Minister Daly for his work on this important issue. Minister Daly has driven several important reforms in the area of mental health, and I am so pleased he can publish this document outlining the pathway forward.”

Minister Daly said: “I am delighted to launch “Sharing the Vision – a Mental Health Policy for Everyone”. It will provide a roadmap for our mental health services over the next ten years and will help us to deal with the increase in demands on our services in new and imaginative ways. I am confident that this policy will change lives for the better”.

Hugh Kane, Chair, Oversight Group said: “There is a need to develop stronger, more appropriate mental health supports at community and primary care level. The new policy focusses on developing a broad based, whole-of-system mental health policy for the whole population while providing effective specialist mental health services. The new policy is action orientated and focussed on bringing about tangible changes in people’s lives. Central to this policy is the right of people with mental health difficulties to be centrally involved in their own care and recovery, as well as a continuing focus on recovery and the need for recovery to be supported throughout the mental health system. Alternative access to emergency care and appropriate use of digital health solutions is suggested as a way of improving 24/7 access to services.”

Anne O’Connor, Chief Operating Officer, HSE said: “We are now moving into a new phase in terms of how we provide mental health services to the public. The advent of Covid-19 has led to a rapid acceleration in the delivery of online mental health services, a development that will be further promoted by Sharing the Vision”.

Notes:

The revised policy, Sharing the Vision – A Mental Health Policy for Everyone, is being launched today, Wednesday 17 June, by Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly.

The previous national mental health policy, A Vision for Change, ended its ten-year term in 2016. An Expert Evidence Review, commissioned by the Department of Health, was carried out in 2016 to provide evidence to determine the policy direction for a refresh of A Vision for Change, both in terms of international best practice and the experience of implementing A Vision for Change to date. An Oversight Group was established in October 2017 to review and update the policy and to present a draft report for consideration by the Department of Health.  The Oversight Group was independently chaired by Mr Hugh Kane and included representatives from the Department of Health, HSE, Voluntary Sector and HSE Service Users.

This policy was developed following a process of research into international innovation and best practice in mental health and an extensive national consultation of over 1,000 service users, family members, friends and carers and other stakeholders. The findings of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care also contributed to this policy. The Oversight Group also took account of relevant mental health recommendations in other Government policies such as Better Outcomes Brighter Futures; Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery; and the LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy. The Department streamlined this report to produce Sharing the Vision, which sets out current and future service priorities.

Sharing the Vision envisages a mental health system that addresses the needs of population though a focus on the requirements of the individual. The key outcomes identified are:

  • Promotion, prevention and early intervention;
  • Service access, coordination and continuity of care;
  • Social inclusion; and
  • Accountability and continuous improvement.

The policy advocates provision of additional access routes to treatment, where service users are included in care planning and interventions provided are outcome-measured.

The revised policy contains an implementation roadmap that organises recommendations into short (0-6 months); medium (6-18 months) and long term (beyond 18 months). One of the key recommendations of the new policy is to establish a National Implementation and Monitoring Committee to oversee progress in implementing the policy.


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