Tuesday, 5 November 2019
Department of Health
Budget 2020 announced €39 million additional funding for mental health services bringing its budget to €1.026 billion in 2020. The additional €39m increase to the includes €13m for the continued rollout of new developments in 2020 and €26m has been allocated for other costs, including pay, which will be used to maintain funding and enhance existing services.
New Developments programmes and funding will be agreed as part of the HSE National Service Plan 2020 discussions.
631. To ask the Minister for Health his plans to commission a national audit of Traveller suicide and develop a national targeted suicide prevention campaign for Travellers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45004/19]
The National Office for Suicide Prevention in the HSE has responsibility for the implementation of Connecting for Life,Ireland's National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Members of the Traveller community are considered as a priority group under the strategy and feature across many objectives and actions in the strategy.
I have asked the National Office for Suicide Prevention to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to these specific requests.
National mental health policies, such as A Vision for Change and Connecting for Life, support a whole-of-population approach to mental health service delivery. The Traveller community is among a number of priority groups identified in these strategies, acknowledging that, while Travellers are eligible to avail of all mainstream public health services, they also have specific needs and mental health services should be delivered in a culturally-appropriate way.
For this reason, in 2017 the HSE committed to the recruitment of nine Mental Health Coordinators for Travellers, eight of whom are currently in post. The focus of these roles is to work within the CHOs to support improved access, consistency and integration of mental health services to meet the mental health needs of Travellers.
The Department of Health also provides funding in the region of €10m per annum, through the HSE, for targeted measures to improve the health status of the Travelling community. These include:
- primary healthcare projects, counselling services, family support programmes and men's health projects; dedicated public health nurses and related staff; and
- mental health promotion and suicide prevention services in a culturally sensitive manner, to reduce the stigma associated with mental health.
In addition, the Department of Justice and Equality's National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy also details HSE-specific actions. Of particular note is the commitment by the HSE to develop a National Traveller Health Action Plan.
The HSE circulated a first draft of the action plan in March 2019 for consultation with stakeholders, including the Department of Health. The draft is currently being revised to take account of feedback and is expected to be finalised in quarter 4 2019.