The public would strongly support more investment in mental health services, a new survey has found.
According to the findings, if given the choice, members of the public would be willing to invest more in mental health programmes for children than in respite care or scoliosis programmes for children.
The survey was commissioned by Mental Health Reform, the national coalition on mental health in Ireland, and involved over 1,000 people. Each participant was asked to allocate €100 between three different types of health services for children - mental health programmes, respite care or scoliosis programmes.
The survey found that 33% of participants allocated at least €50 to mental health programmes, compared to just 10% who allocated at least €50 to respite care and scoliosis programmes.
While most participants agreed that all types of health programmes receive insufficient attention from the health service, 84% said that too little focus is being placed on mental health.
Some 38% of those prioritising mental health programmes over the scoliosis programme, and 35% of those prioritising it over respite care programmes, said that they felt there was currently insufficient investment in mental health programmes.
"We regularly hear stories of families and individuals struggling to get access to the mental health supports they need. Something has to change. In May 2018, over 6,500 children and young people were waiting for their first psychological appointment.
"Staffing in mental health services is still not even back up to the levels that were in place in 2008. Even with investment by the Government of over €200 million between 2012 and 2018, the system still cannot cope with the amount of people coming forward to access supports," commented Mental Health Reform director, Shari McDaid.
She insisted that Ireland needs ‘a real step-change in Government investment for mental health services to address the huge increase in need'.
"This report brings clear evidence of the great value members of the public place on investment in the Irish mental health system and suggests that Government should substantially boost the priority given to mental health within the wider health system, in order to reflect the public's concerns," Ms McDaid added.