"Our leaders are ignoring this" - Bressie on mental health promises in #GE16

The word suicide was only mentioned five times across the main manifestos

This morning, Newstalk released a Reality Check on the importance given to the issue of mental health by the four main political parties in their manifestos.

Fine Gael has 294 words, Fianna Fail 273 words, Labour Party 153 words and Sinn Fein just 87 words. The four biggest parties only manage a total of 807 words between them, that’s less than half of 1% of their manifestos.

Last year alone, there were 17,800 admissions to psychiatric units and hospitals which average almost 50 admissions per day. Two thirds of those were re-admissions.

In the four main manifestos the word suicide only appears a total of five times, three of those in the Sinn Fein manifesto, twice in the Fianna Fail document, which of course leaves the extraordinary situation that the word does not appear at all in either of the Government Party’s manifestos.

Mental health advocate Niall Breslin, better known as Bressie, spoke to presenter Jonathan Healy on Newstalk Lunchtime today.

He stated that he was shocked that mental health hadn't come up as an issue in the debates and that he feels the leaders are ignoring the issue.

He stated: "We have to stop looking at mental health as this narrow, kind of, potential electorate issue. It's much broader than that.

"Mental health has an awful lot to do with an awful lot of what's going on in our country at the moment. The fact that our politicians are almost so blinded, they think it's just about people who don't feel good. There's so much to this and we are ignoring it, our leaders are ignoring this."

He went on to say that it was vague the way that parties were treating the issue but there are organisations who deal with this who can provide advice to the parties.

You can listen to his interview here:

Meanwhile, Joan Burton has said Labour is committed to providing facilities for people with mental health issues through primary care centres.

"We don't want people with mental health difficulties having to be hospitalised unless in very acute situations," she explained.

Live from @ElectionNT