March 21, 2012

Numbers of Staff in Mental Health Going in the Wrong Direction
Text: Numbers of Staff in Mental Health Going in the Wrong Direction While it welcomed the €35m or 414 staff investment in mental health services in the community, the group warned that the number of mental health posts was already down 12% at the end of 2011 compared to 2008.

Mental Health Reform has called for the urgent appointment of a Director for Mental Health and hiring of the multi-disciplinary staff promised in December's budget to avoid a com- plete crisis in the mental health services.

While it welcomed the €35m or 414 staff investment in mental health services in the community, the group warned that the number of mental health posts was already down 12% at the end of 2011 com- pared to 2008. Even with the new 414 staff the overall level of staffing in the mental health set- vices will be 8% lower than in 2008. TTiis is before taking into account any retirements in 2012. which mean it will likely be even more.

"We are moving in the wrong direction. Staffing figures should be going up year on year in mental health to reflect imple- mentation of A Vision for Change. Instead we are 20% short of the rec- ommended staffing in the Government's men- tal health policy", said (Ma Barry, Director ofMental Health Reform.

"This Government hasclearly prioritised mentalhealth services. Its goodintentions need to be fol-lowed through by theHSE. This can only bedone through the urgentappointment of aDirector for MentalHealth with budgetarycontrol", she continued.

"Retiring staff must bereplaced with a mix ofstaff from all disciplinesto ensure that peoplewho use the mentalhealth services get theservices they require forthem to recover withintheir community", MsBarry concluded.

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