Progress needed on establishment of mental health taskforce – Smith

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Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says progress is needed on a mental health taskforce to deal with the fallout from COVID-19.

Deputy Smith had raised the matter with the Minister for Health. In his response the Minister said, “the Department of Health proposes that such a task force could be established as a sub-committee of the National Monitoring and Implementation Committee and work with the members of the Healthy Ireland mental health promotion strategy group to expand provision of existing Covid-19 interventions”.   

Deputy Smith commented, “A range of services are needed during and after this crisis has passed. Adequate supports must be put in place for healthcare staff, patients and families who have lost loved ones. While progress appears to have been made on the national long-term mental health strategy, A Vision For Change, the mental health challenges that have arisen from the unprecedented global pandemic need to be addressed now.

“We have rightly focused on reducing transmission of the virus but as we prepare long term a mental health taskforce is needed to help individuals heal from the chaos that the coronavirus has brought to our everyday lives.

“People right across this country are suffering from unprecedented social anxiety. They are experiencing increased stress and anxiety due to health, economic and family strains.

“The public health emergency has exposed the need for broader health and social services; vulnerable people such as those suffering from domestic abuse, those with mental illness and those with addiction issues who are finding their situation compounded by current events.

“We need a coordinated approach to deal with the very real mental health issues which are already with us, and which are coming down the road.  It is imperative that we have a strategy in place to deal with the wide variety of issues affecting people as a result of this unprecedented pandemic”, concluded Deputy Smith.

PQ 925120 Brendan Smith