December 3, 2012 by John Buckley
I received the first reply today to a call to protect the mental health budget, sent to cabinet ministers last week. You can read more here.
Paul Keogh, TD for Wexford and Fine Gael chief whip responded as below.
Many thanks for getting in touch with me about the matter of funding for mental health services in the next Budget. No decisions have yet been taken about Budget 2013 and I have communicated your concerns to the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly.
The Minister has told me that his Department is currently in the process of working out the Health Estimates for expenditure in 2013. In mental health, it is planned to provide sufficient resources to meet the cost of commitments entered into in 2012.
As you know, in 2012 the Government allocated funding of €35 million to mental health, primarily for the purpose of strengthening Community Mental Health Teams in both Adult and Children’s mental health services (for which €25m has been earmarked).
Up to €3 million of the fund will be used to advance activities in the area of suicide prevention and a cost of €5 million has been estimated to initiate the provision of psychological and counselling services in primary care, specifically for people with mental health problems. The remaining €2 million will be made available to facilitate the re-location of mental health service users from institutional care to more independent living arrangements in their communities, in line with A Vision for Change.
The Government is currently prioritising the employment of 414 professionals to facilitate the implementation of the package of special measures. To date 14 posts have been filled and over 270 offers of employment have been accepted and the appointments are proceeding.
Please be assured of Fine Gael’s commitment to mental health services.
Minister Paul Kehoe TD