Mental Health road map urgently needed – Conor McGuinness

Sinn Féin councillor Conor D. McGuinness, has said a road map for mental health support provision must be put in place, following the introduction of new Covid-19 restrictions.

McGuinness said said:

“I have been inundated with calls and messages from people who are unsure, worried and scared about the increase in infections of Covid-19 and about the new restrictions. 

“When restrictions were first introduced, they did cause levels of mental health issues to increase but it was also a novelty. This was the first time we as a country had faced into something like this. The weather was nice, people were able to go for walks and do other forms of exercise outdoors. People thought that they would do this first lockdown and then get back on with their lives. 

“We are now entering into our third lockdown and people are extremely worried and frustrated. Retail and hospitality workers now find themselves out of work again, while some have not worked since March. Families cannot meet up with loved ones. The weather is not as nice as it was. 

“I have heard from numerous experts that Covid-19 combined with restrictions have created a perfect storm when it comes to mental health. There is another tsunami of mental health issue about to hit this island and the Government needs to take its head out of the sand and act. 

“Our already under-resourced mental health services, that were struggling to cope pre-Covid, are now operating over capacity. This is not sustainable. 

“It is unacceptable that in a year of national crisis that this Government reduced the percentage of the health budget to be spent on mental health.

“The Taoiseach said in his address to the nation last week that this is not a time for nuance when it comes to public health. I agree but it is also not a time for nuance for mental health provision. 

“I am calling on the Government to immediately put in place a road map for mental health provision and to support front line and community services to provide the help people desperately need.”