KEEPING MENTAL HEALTH IN MIND
In a year which saw Blindboy Boatclub become an unofficial national spokesperson on mental health and dozens of artists, entertainers and public figures talked openly about their battles with depression and anxiety, we also saw delays and misinformation in relation to mental health reform at a government level.
When the 2018 Budget announced that €35 million was being set aside for mental health services back in October, mental health charities were quick to point out that €20 million of this had already been promised for 2017, but hadn’t been delivered. They were angered by the fact that a poxy €15 million a year was not only a
reduction in the amount desperately needed for the sector, but that it also fell far short of the international norm.
On top of this, the suicide rate in Northern Ireland continues to be one of the highest in Western Europe, with most mental health professionals agreeing that the alarmingly high rate is directly associated with the unresolved legacy of the Troubles, as well as the impact of discriminatory laws still in operation in the country. Remarkably, Northern Irish politicians have done even less than their southern counterparts this year, through the simple fact that there hasn’t been a government in Northern Ireland since the first month of 2017…