So, by now I am sure that most people have seen or heard about what happened in the Dáil a few weeks ago. I am talking about when 10 out of 158 TD’s showed up for a debate about mental health. Only those 10 TD’s were fighting for redirecting €12million from our mental health sector. If that does not speak volumes, I don’t know what does.
Recently it has become obvious how important mental health is to the people of Ireland but also around the world. Celebrities like Niall Breslin, Kristen Bell and Wentworth Miller to name only a few have spoken about their experiences in hopes of inspiring others to seek help. So this poses the question, why on earth are our government still brushing this subject under the carpet like it is no big deal?
The answer is because things like water charges, elections and power are more important to them than our well-being. Your mental health is the most important part of you. It can improve or impair your quality of life so easily. These are our country’s leaders and this is how they are treating this issue by essentially ignoring it. There are so many events such as The Bounce of the Ball event last November and Darkness into Light which saw over 120,000 people take place this year, which are helping to open the barriers towards mental health yet there is still a massive lack of support. Pieta House who have organised both of those events and are the main reason why so many people are getting help today, have stated that one in ten people in Ireland commit suicide every single week.
It is hard enough for somebody who is suffering from depression or anxiety to gather the courage to go and talk to somebody for help. Then if in doing so they realise that there are very few places available for help because their own government has not funded them, is quite frankly a disgrace. This issue deserves more respect from our ‘leaders’ because it affects so many of their people. There is a severe lack of insufficient human resources for mental health which is why so many people are afraid to seek help for their problems.
What message is this sending to the people out there who are suffering and looking for help? It’s time for people to make a change and support these causes. 20% of children and teenagers have mental disorders worldwide with suicide being the second leading source of death among 15- 29 year olds.
In Ireland one in five people will suffer from depression within their lives. It is averaged that in this country alone 500 people take their lives each year. This is a staggering number that could only grow if support is not given for those in need. Even when those people seeking help find support, it can often be up to six weeks before they get the chance to talk to a counsellor. If someone has gathered the courage to seek help it usually means that they are on their last option and what is a wait of six weeks if not more going to do to their mental health? They are going to feel unwelcome and underappreciated which is exactly what they are in the government’s eyes.
May 20th is National Time to Talk Day so go and talk. This is related to The Green Ribbon campaign which is an amazing idea to get people to talk openly about mental health wherever they may be. These ribbons will be distributed nationwide all this month to raise awareness about the importance of mental health. If there are no ribbons available near you, you can see where to get one at www.greenribbon.ie.
Ireland needs to address these issues and help people. Ireland needs to fund support for those in need so that our children, our grandchildren and our great grandchildren are not still affected by this in decades to come. Ireland needs support. Ireland needs change.