The Government should boost mental health spending by €85 million, charity Mental Health Ireland has said.
The World Health Organization says nations should spend around 12% of their health budget on mental health. However, in Ireland this figure is roughly 7%.
The CEO of Mental Health Ireland, Martin Rogan, says the Budget is an opportunity to change that:
“In this week’s Budget we’d like to see the Government putting €85 million additional spending into our mental health services.
“Ireland spends a very, very low percentage of health spending [on mental health]. Certainly compared with other developed countries.
“The WHO would recommend about a 12% spend. In Ireland we’re spending about 6 and 7%. So we’ve a lot of catching up to do.
“And the exchequer returns are good. So we definitely need to invest. And it’s a life long investment when you respond to a mental health need.”
He added that while services are good for emergencies, waiting lists can be very long:
“If it’s an urgent case, you’re seen immediately and that’s really important.
“But for more routine referrals, there can be delays. And particularly for children and young people, there can be a number of months of delay.
“And that’s a really risky and important time where services need to be able to mobilise and young people in particular can access skilled quality professionals, fully equipped to support our mental health needs.”
During the pandemic demand for mental services soared; there was a 66% rise in people hospitalised for eating disorders with anxiety and loneliness from COVID restrictions tipped as the probable cause.
Between 2012 and 2019, spending on mental health in Ireland increased by 40% and funding was further increased by €38 million in last year’s Budget.
Main image: A man showing signs of distress. Picture by: PA