“Over 500 people take their own lives annually in Ireland. It is vital that the devastating impact of suicide and the need for greater mental health services are addressed. Tomorrow evening I will be joining many others at Sarsfields GAA Grounds in Newbridge at 10pm to release Chinese Lanterns into the night sky to remember loved ones lost to suicide. This event marks World Suicide Prevention Day and the end of National Suicide Prevention Week” said Kildare North TD, Anthony Lawlor.

This Government is committed to mental health reform. It is proposed to increase the spend on mental health services by ring-fencing €35 million annually from within the health budget to develop community mental health teams and services. We are also committed to transforming our model of healthcare delivery to facilitate access to housing, education and employment for those with mental health problems.

It is the Government’s intention that over time access to modern mental health services in the community will be significantly improved. It is envisaged that the provision of improved community-based services will ensure that people with mental health problems receive the treatment and after-care support needed to facilitate recovery. In order to achieve these goals, Minister Lynch, who has special responsibility for Mental Health matters, is currently engaged in discussions with officials with a view to establishing a Directorate within the HSE in order to deliver progress on the reform process in this area as early as possible.

“Suicide and mental health illnesses are a plague on Irish society. It is important that as a community we unite together to support those suffering from mental health illnesses and affected by suicide. I will continue to put pressure on the Government and Minister Lynch to fulfil their commitments to reform our mental health services and end the scourge of suicide” concluded Anthony Lawlor TD.