Friday, 8th November 2013
Speaking at the launch of the Basement Resource Centre Booklet in Washington St; Cork this afternoon (Friday), Fine Gael Cork South Central Deputy, Jerry Buttimer, paid tribute to the staff and families of those attending the Centre for the contribution they are making in removing the stigma that is too often associated with mental health issues.
Deputy Buttimer said the task of making mental health a priority and speaking openly about mental health issues, in a bid to empower those who are dealing with their own personal experiences, falls to each and every one of us. The Cork Deputy went on to say that the Booklet by Aoife O’Leary helps, through a series of interviews, to provide an insight into the excellent service provided at The Basement and into people’s own personal experiences as they engage in their process of recovery.
“The publication of a Vision for Change in 2006, the blueprint for the development of a modern Irish mental health service, heralded a new beginning. However, much has changed economically since 2006. Despite our budgetary constraints, this Government is committed to reforming delivery of mental health services. This means moving away from the old hospital-based model to a community-based, patient-centred and recovery orientated service.
“A dedicated budgetary allocation for mental health has been part of this Government’s first three budgets, which is in line with the commitments contained in Programme for Government. Funding totalling €90 million has been ring-fenced for the delivery of mental health services and some 900 new posts have been provided, as part of the last three Budgets, to strengthen community mental health teams and enhance specialist community provision for older people and those with an intellectual disability, among others.
“Where recruitment is concerned, we are steadily making headway. Of the 414 posts allocated in 2012, the recruitment process is complete for 91%, with a number of the remaining posts at various stages in the recruitment process. Of the 477 posts approved in 2013, 88% are either complete or at various stages in the recruitment process, with the remaining posts now in the HSE approvals process. There is no doubt that expediting the completion of the recruitment process for all posts must be prioritised in the interest of ensuring the availability of fully trained staff when and where they are needed. At a recent meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, I received assurances from the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly TD, and the HSE in that regard.
“The challenge of improving mental health is being acutely felt in Ireland where we have experienced so much sudden and dramatic social change in recent years. Going from the boom years of the Celtic Tiger to the current recession has had a severe impact on many people’s lives and it is essential that we are equipped to help those who are experiencing difficulty, due to financial worries or otherwise.
“By delivering low threshold, easily accessible services in everyday settings, such as those that are provided at The Basement, an outlet is being given to who are most in need.”