Clare TD’s Joe Carey (FG) and Dr Michael Harty (Ind) have been appointed to serve on the special committee to advise the Government on the future of mental health care.
Stating that the appointment was recognition of his long-time interest in improving mental health services, Deputy Carey said that when people seek help for mental health issues, it is essential that good quality help is available.
“It’s more than ten years since ‘A Vision for Change’, the Government strategy document on the future of the mental health services, was published but, unfortunately, its recommendations have not yet been fully implemented. There is little doubt that now, more than ever, there is an increased demand for mental health supports and it is not acceptable that waiting lists are continuing to grow.
“Every effort must be made to reduce the waiting lists associated with routine referrals for children, teenagers and young people as these waiting times are now stretching into years,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr Michael Harty has warmly welcomed the appointment of Senator Joan Freeman to chair the new Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health.
Dr. Harty said the founder of Pieta House has done outstanding work with people in suicidal distress or engaging in self-harm. The intention is that the new Committee, drawn from members of the Dáil and Seanad, will aim to achieve cross-party agreement on the implementation of a single, long-term vision for mental health care and the direction of mental health policy in Ireland.
“This is good news for all those with an interest in how we further develop and implement our mental health services,” said Dr. Harty who has also been appointed to the committee.
“At this time the Government’s ten year policy A Vision for Change is under review so it is very timely that we, as elected public representatives, have the opportunity to play their our part in feeding into the future policy direction in this area,” said Dr. Harty.
“Anybody who comes from rural Ireland is acutely aware of the impact of suicide and self-harm in our communities. This is a subject in which I am keenly interested. Although the Central Statistics office is reporting a most welcome drop in the suicide rate, it is still a big problem in our society. With my experiences of thirty years as a medical doctor in rural Ireland, I hope I can bring some useful insights and ideas to the work of the committee which is scheduled to present its report to the Houses of the Oireachtas by 31st October next year,” he said.