Mark Ward TD has called for the €20 million announced by an Taoiseach to fund mental health and community groups to be made available immediately. Teachta Ward has called on clarity on when this fund will be released and who will benefit from it. Teachta Ward said: “We have been here before with this Government with big announcements about mental health supports. Big announcements with very little substance.“In February, an Taoiseach announced that €10 million in funding will be made available to meet the increased demand for mental health supports. An additional allocation of €10 million was also announced for the Covid Stability Fund for organisations in the community and voluntary sector, to enable continuity of critical service delivery to vulnerable groups.
“Over the last number of months, I have met with front line mental health and community services who are working over their capacity to meet the emerging needs within our communities. This is not sustainable, and they need support. “Based on previous announcements I have no confidence that the money announced by an Taoiseach will reach the groups that really need it. “This fund was announced by an Taoiseach in February but Minister Mary Butler on the 24th March stated she was still scoping out various options with her Department. “I submitted a parliamentary question on the 24th of February asking what exactly the €20 million fund will be spent on. I have not received an answer to date.
“Only this week it was reported that the Samaritans have listened for almost 73,000 hours since lockdown. Aware recorded a 36% rise in calls in 2020. Alone reports an increase in a wide range of mental health impacts among older people. Spun Out, receive 5,000 texts a month from people aged 16 to 34, with issues including anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts; “Bodywhys, the national group supporting people with eating disorders reports a 150% increase in people accessing its online support . Almost 6,000 people nationwide are waiting over a year to see a psychologist – most of them are children. “These waiting lists were bad before the pandemic, now they’re pushing an already-stretched services to breaking point. “We have gone from a mental health crisis to a mental health emergency under tis Government and services need to know when this fund will be released and who will benefit from it