Saturday 24 February 2018

With proper funding our mental health services can also emerge from crisis

As recession ends, there are also signs of recovery in Ireland's toll of suicide and self-harm, writes Paul Corcoran

Stock image posed by model
Stock image posed by model

Paul Corcoran

This week's Irish Economy Health Check by Goodbody Stockbrokers brought the news that Ireland's lost decade is at an end. Our economy has recovered from the 2008 crash, this year's domestic spending will equal the peak level seen in 2007 and full employment will be reached by the end of 2018.

Goodbody did remind us of our high national debt so even if the lost decade is over for the economy there are decades of repayments ahead for the population. The exponential growth in applications for debt solutions, reported last week by the Insolvency Service of Ireland, reminded us of the significant personal debt that may also take decades to resolve. Thursday's report by the Central Statistics Office that homelessness more than doubled between 2011 and 2016 reminded us of another persisting cost borne by some in our society as a result of the lost decade.

In Ireland, we do not have a national mental health check but if we did, would it also conclude that we have emerged from a lost decade? As with a country's economy, there are various indicators and metrics for the mental health of a nation, not least among them is suicidal behaviour.

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