Deputy Tom Neville outside Leinster House
FINE Gael TD Tom Neville has reaffirmed his commitment to mental health issues, as the Government aims to strengthen the rights of mental health patients with a new legislation.
He said that the Government’s recently-approved Mental Health Bill will provide “greater consultation” with patients being treated in local and national health services.
“Attitudes to mental health in Ireland are changing. People are more open to getting help when they need it and the old stigmas are eroding, but we must strive to eradicate stigma altogether.
“When I speak to teenagers, I take heart from their attitude and perception of mental health. Their openness to it is very different from generations before them,” he said.
He said that the Government’s support for extension and expansion of services, such as the new Jigsaw youth mental health programme in Limerick city, is “another step in the right direction”.
The Jigsaw project, which started taking referrals at its Arthur’s Quay shopping centre in late June, is one of 13 regional hubs specialising in mental health supports amongst 12- to 25-year-olds.
The youth mental health service is free-of-charge.
In January 2016, the former Minister of State for Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch announced a €700,000 investment into the service.
“Improving the provision of mental health services is so important. I want to send a message from the Dáil to our younger people, you are our future.
“Younger people, particularly teenagers, from their perspective have different ideas from mine because I come from a different generation and background.
“I believe that we should leave no stone unturned when it comes to the provision of mental health services for younger people,” he stated last week.
Deputy Neville added: “The Government has committed to bring greater awareness of mental health problems for young people. I will continue to advocate this as I believe it is one of the most pressing issues affecting our country today.”