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€1.8 million in mental health funding allocated to low-emission vehicles for HSE community services

€7 million of a one-off €10 million fund has been earmarked for improving the experiences of people using mental health services.

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€1.8 MILLION IN funding for mental health services has been allocated to replacing community healthcare organisation (CHO) fleets with low-emission vehicles.

Budget 2022 included an additional €10 million of one-off funding for mental health, with €7 million earmarked for improving the experiences of people using services around the country.

Minister of State for Mental Health Mary Butler announced that €1.8 million will go towards green or hybrid vehicles for every CHO, which provide care through the HSE in local areas outside of acute hospitals.

Another €1 million was allocated to services and supports in areas such as perinatal mental health, men’s mental health, trauma-informed care, ethnic minorities – including the Traveller and Roma communities – eating disorders and dual diagnosis.

Other areas receiving funding are €500,000 for mental health day services in the East Cork area and €170,000 for the continued operation of a mental health crisis café in Galway.

Butler said the funding will lead to “real improvements in the experiences of people using our mental health services”.

However, TD Mark Ward said the funding for the hybrid vehicles should have been allocated under a different budget.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on mental health said that “funding for climate action should not be at the deficit to other portfolios”.

“I have been putting pressure on the Minister to announce when this money [allocated in Budget 2022] will be spent and on what. Time-bound, one-off funding can lead to panic spending with the resources not necessary going to where it’s needed,” Ward said.

“The minister announced that €1.8 million of €10 million once-off funding for mental health will be spent on a fleet of green or hybrid vehicles for the HSE,” he said.

“Tackling the climate emergency is extremely important but so too is tackling the mental health emergency.

“Funds for green initiatives should come from operational budgets and not the mental health budget. Funding for climate action should not be at the deficit to other portfolios.

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“The Minister needs to explain how this will improve the experience of people who are trying to access mental health supports from the HSE.”

In Budget 2022 climate plans, the government signalled intentions to invest in low or zero-emissions transport, including €360 million to active travel and greenways to encourage walking and cycling.

€1.4 billion was allocated to “further develop our public transport networks and to support the transition to a decarbonised and climate resilient transport system”.

Other transport measures included a planned 50% discount for young adults on public transport and changes to the vehicle registration tax.

About the author:

Lauren Boland

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