Families and individuals without vital mental health supports are left in desperate situation
Local TD, Denis Naughten has said that the disclosure of the fact that not one additional cent of pandemic funding has been provided for mental health services in Roscommon, Galway & Mayo will have long term consequences for individuals and families over the weeks and months ahead.
Across the Counties of Galway, Roscommon and Mayo additional funding has been provided this winter by the HSE to enhance services for the care of older people, people with a disability and care in the community, which is all very welcome particularly after the pressure put on these services this year as a result of the pandemic.
However, the fact that no additional funding is being provided to the mental health services in Roscommon, Galway or Mayo despite more people requiring support as a result of Covid 19 is clearly because Government has not prioritised this important issue.
Consistently we hear Minister after Minister state that there has not been an increase in the rate of suicide, giving the impression that this is the only measure of the need for mental health services, which it clearly is not.
We have acute mental health units across our region which are full to capacity leaving people requiring intensive support without a bed. On top of that mental health support networks and support services have been wound down because of social distancing restrictions.
We already know that services in the West and in Roscommon & Galway in particular are underfunded, a fact highlighted in the Roscommon Mental Health Inquiry and because of Covid social distancing restrictions we should be expanding services not just keeping them ticking over.
There is also ample evidence that confirms widespread psychological distress in COVID-19 affected communities which one such survey by the COVID-19 Psychological Research Consortium (C19PRC) which found that approximately 1-in-3 Irish adults were suffering from depression, anxiety, or PTSD at each wave over Covid infection.
Many people may be facing increased levels of alcohol and drug use, insomnia, and anxiety during this pandemic and we know that the reporting of domestic abuse has increased during the pandemic
Bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones and it is a fact that people with pre-existing mental, neurological or substance use disorders are also more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.
The World Health Organisation has pointed out that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on access to mental health services and underscores the urgent need for increased funding, but Government seems to be ignoring this fact locally” concluded Denis Naughten.