Fears over the huge increase in self harming behaviour have been voiced.
Deputy Martin Kenny, Sinn Féin TD for Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan and South Donegal, has raised the issue of the mental health services in his constituency.
Deputy Kenny said: “I have raised the issue of mental health services provision on several occasions. Given that ‘A Vision for Change’ has come to an end, what is the proposed next step?
“Will an alternative programme be put in place? A report issued today by the National Suicide Research Foundation shows that in the seven years from 2007 to 2015, the number of men reporting self-harming behaviour in County Leitrim increased by 133%, with an increase of 117% for women.
“The figures are similar in many areas across the country. Child and adolescent mental health services, CAMHS, in particular, have been starved of resources, despite the many young teenagers presenting in urgent need of assistance.
“The ‘RTE Investigates’ programme last night dealt specifically with waiting lists but similarly, mental health services throughout the state are in disarray. What will be done to address this problem?”
The Taoiseach responded that an evidence-based review of ‘A Vision for Change’ has begun and that the Government is committed to increasing the mental health budget and promised €853 million for this year.
Deputy Kenny later expressed his disappointment at the response and referred again to the difficulty in being seen by professionals in the public health service and said that what is needed is more psychiatric professionals working in the community and in facilities around the country, saying:
“The fact that the increase in people self-harming in Leitrim is so alarming, is a reflection of the state of mental health services in the county.”