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Suicide prevention requires immediate attention

“I appreciate Dan Neville TD raising on the new Topical Issues Debate in the Dáil (Wednesday 14th September), the urgent need to address suicide in Ireland. He outlined how in 2010 486 people died by suicide and in 2009 the incidences of suicide increased by 25%, many directly attributed to the economic crisis. Progress to date has been slow in dealing with this issue and I join my colleague Dan Neville in urging immediate action to increase funding and implement the recommendations of A Vision for Change” said Kildare North TD, Anthony Lawlor.

In his response, Minister James Reilly accepted that the current level of mental health services in Ireland is seriously lacking. However, to deal with this historical legacy the Programme for Government has ring fenced €35 million per annum to implement the recommendations in A Vision for Change.

It is also very encouraging to note that in his speech Minister Reilly stated “that within our primary care strategy, it is our intention that each primary care centre will have a mental health facility so that people with mental health problems will be treated in the same way as any other patient, thus helping to remove the stigma associated with mental illness. It often seems to be acceptable to talk about one’s sore leg or chest pain but not to talk about mental health difficulties. That stigma must be debunked.”

“I firmly believe that this stance by the Minister is vital in order to tackle what has now become a plague on Irish society. Not only is it necessary for this Government to offer vastly improved services to those suffering from mental health but society also has to change the manner in which it views this illness and how it deals with suicide. I encourage people to make submissions to the Department of Health regarding the review of the Mental Health Act 2001 which is currently underway. It is up to us a society to deal with this crisis as a community” concluded Anthony Lawlor TD.

ENDS

Further Information:

Minister of State Kathleen Lynch T.D. has now established a steering group to review the provisions of the Act having regard to

(a) its general operation since its commencement;

(b) the extent to which the recommendations of ‘A Vision for Change’ could or should be underpinned by legislation;

(c) the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and

(d) the current economic environment.

The group now invites the public and stakeholders to make submissions on the issue under review. Submissions should be concise, focused and limited to ten pages. Submissions should be sent to the address below or by email to be received by 5pm on Friday 7 October 2011.

Mental Health Unit (Room 5.13)

Department of Health

Hawkins House

Dublin 2

Email to: Stephen_obrien@health.gov.ie

Tel: 01 635 4022