Press Release

Minister O’Malley welcomes the launch of the Mental Health Commission’s Annual report for 2006

Mr Tim O’Malley, T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children today (28th March 2007) welcomed the 2006 Annual Report of the Mental Health Commission which includes the Report of the Inspector of Mental Health Services.

Minister O’Malley said that the past year has been one of great change within mental health in Ireland with the publication of a new policy document “A Vision for Change” and the full implementation of the Mental Health Act 2001 from 1st November 2006, which included the introduction of Mental Health Tribunals. All people suffering from mental disorders who are involuntarily detained are now entitled to an automatic, independent review of their detention.

The Minister welcomed the fact that over the last three years the Inspectorate has noted a change in thinking about how mental health services should be delivered. “There is now increasing service user involvement in planning and delivering mental health services. Within services there is also more recognition that multi-disciplinary team working is vital to the delivery of a modern mental health service and this has been acknowledged by the Inspectorate” said the Minister.

However, in recognising the positive developments in each service, the Report also highlights a number of areas that are of continued concern, including the standard of long stay accommodation for people with severe and enduring illness and the need for multi-disciplinary teams to be fully resourced. “These areas have been given a central focus in “A Vision for Change” which has been accepted as the blueprint for the future development of our mental health services.” said the Minister.

The Minister also said “The Government has trebled expenditure on mental health from €326m in 1997 to €984m in 2006 which included a sum of €26.2 million for the development of our mental health services in line with “A Vision for Change”. A further sum of €25 million has been allocated for 2007 to continue this development bringing total allocation for this year to just over €1 billion. In March 2006, I appointed an independent Monitoring Group to monitor progress on the implementation of the recommendations in “A Vision for Change”. I look forward to receiving the Group’s Report which is expected by mid year”.