General Election 2020: Bloomfield CEO calls on Irish public to put mental health first
As Irish voters prepare to decide who will lead our country for the next four years, CEO of Bloomfield Mental Health Services, Brian Higgins, is calling on the public to make mental health their first priority.
“There is no family in Ireland that has not been or will not be impacted by mental health difficulties. Long waiting lists, lack of investment in services, greater difficulty accessing specialised services in rural areas, and staff shortages affect people on every level of our society,” said Mr Higgins. “The Irish public needs to let candidates standing for election know that this is a critical issue, and one they will bring to the polls.”
Specialist mental health services, such as those provided at Bloomfield for people living with severe and enduring mental health needs like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Huntington’s disease, are under-resourced, meaning some of the most vulnerable members of our society are living in unacceptable conditions and circumstances. Bloomfield is the only in-patient facility in Ireland for people living with Huntington’s disease.
“We know that even those living with severe mental health difficulties can live full, meaningful, and happy lives with the right care and support,” Mr Higgins continued, “and it is up to those of us who have the ability to stand for our most vulnerable to hold our politicians to account on this issue. It is unsustainable for charities to continue to fill the gaps in our public mental health services.”
A strong commitment from incoming politicians is required to address the injustices people are suffering as a result of a funding and staffing crisis, along with clear policies and pledges for improvement to our mental health services across the board.
“We rise by lifting others,” Mr Higgins quoted. “A decision to invest in the mental health of our society is a decision to invest in our future. Inadequately treated mental illness has untold personal and economical effects, and costs us all. Our next government must decide to give Ireland a brighter future.”