Thursday 21 February 2019

More mental health patients should get 'talk therapy', not pills - report

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Too many mental health patients are being prescribed pills when they would benefit from talk therapy, an Oireachtas committee report has warned.

The joint committee on the future of mental health care report said more counselling was particularly needed for children with mental health problems.

The committee, chaired by Senator Joan Freeman, who is a candidate for the presidency, said while it acknowledged that medication had its place in recovery and management for many patients, it was concerned at its "ease of access" compared with talk therapies.

Witnesses to the committee complained of a dearth of funding for these therapies.

The committee pointed to the Ombudsman for Children, Niall Muldoon, who said young people had themselves highlighted how there had been a rush to "medicate" in their treatment.

The committee recommended that more talk therapies be available as part of mainstream mental health services. There should also be a suite of other alternatives such as art therapy and music therapy embedded in community health services.

The report is the culmination of the committee's work since it was set up in July of last year.

Ms Freeman said that "lack of funding remains arguably the biggest obstacle to an effective mental health service. The committee welcomes aspirations towards moving to 7/7 care but is disappointed at a lack of funding".

Irish Independent

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