Sunday 11 December 2016

We must invest in mental health

Published 29/01/2012 | 05:00

Sir -- In response to the article by Jim Cusack, 'Thirty suicides already this year from all walks of life' (Sunday Independent, January 15, 2012), I would like to make the following remarks. It is my belief that suicide is not put at the top of the political agenda because many politicians do not see those who suffer from mental health issues as people who can be relied on for votes. Our organisation works on the ground on a voluntary basis with people who have mental health issues. Only people like ourselves, who are there day and night in order to assist those affected, seem to fully understand the scale of the problem that exists with respect to depression and suicide.

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Millions of euro have been pumped into the HSE over the years, yet only a fraction is being spent on mental health issues. This area has suffered disproportionately when it comes to trained people sharing their experience and knowledge with volunteers on the ground involved in mental health.

It is indicative of our successive governments that over twice as many people die by suicide each year as on our roads, yet an inordinate amount of time, energy and money is put into tackling the problem of road deaths. Though this is a serious problem which obviously deserves attention, it is imperative that tackling suicide and depression be given the resources that it too deserves. Even something like a 10-minute slot on TV every week by a prominent doctor or other personality could make a vast difference to people's awareness of their mental health.

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