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Vast majority of people believe that the HSE does not place enough focus on mental health services

Funding for mental health as a proportion of the overall health budget in Budget 2018 was just 6%.

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AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of people believe the HSE does not place enough focus on mental health services.

A new survey by Mental Health Reform found that 84% of respondents feel that the health service places too little focus on mental health.

The survey of 1,018 research participants also found that the public are willing to invest more in mental health programmes for children than in respite care or scoliosis programmes.

When asked to allocate €100 across three programmes, 33% of respondents allocated at least €50 to the mental health programme, compared with 10% who allocated the same amount to the respite care and scoliosis programmes.

One in ten adults in Ireland has a mental health difficulty at any given time, while almost 20% of young people aged 19-24 and 15% of children aged 11-13 years have experienced a diagnosable mental health disorder at some point in their lives.

Despite this, the survey found that those with no previous experience of mental health problems prioritised investment in mental health programmes for children as much as other participants.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Director of Mental Health Reform, Dr Shari McDaid called for the Government to step up its investment in mental health services.

She said that even with government investment of over €200m between 2012 and 2018, Ireland’s mental health system was still unable to cope with the amount of people seeking to access supports.

However, she pointed out that funding allocated to mental health as a proportion of the overall health budget in Budget 2018 was just 6%.

“We need the Government to listen to the public’s concerns and invest the type of resources that will finally bring about parity of esteem between mental healthcare and physical healthcare,” McDaid said.

She added that the Government should “substantially boost” the priority given to mental health within the wider health system in order to reflect the public’s concerns.

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