People Before Profit is calling for an increase in mental health funding after it was revealed that 169 people in the West have been waiting over a year to see a counsellor.
All of those who have been waiting for more than 12 months to be seen by the HSE’s National Counselling Service are in just three counties – Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.
People Before Profit has said that preventative measures should be emphasised to reduce mental health problems.
These include increased welfare spending, especially on income support, child care, social care, jobs and housing.
“We need to take mental health and loneliness seriously,” said the party’s spokesperson in Galway Adrian Curran. “Implement the progressive proposals from Vision for Change 2020 – the HSE‘s strategy document which sets out the direction for Mental Health Services in Ireland.
“It describes a framework for building and fostering positive mental health across the entire community and for providing accessible, community-based, specialist services for people with mental illness.”
Curran added that the mental health budget needs to be increased, and that there should be a move away from the reliance on drug treatment towards the use of other therapies, and open 24-hour psychiatric care facilities.
“This is clearly a problem all over the country but it appears the West of Ireland is suffering the most from a lack of investment in our mental health,” he added.