Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
Tel. 01 230 35 36

Public Attitudes to Investment in Mental Health Services Report Launch [05/10/18]

IACP delegation attended the launch of the Mental Health Reform’s research report – “Public Attitudes to Investment in Mental Health Services” The main message was that the Irish public wants to see a prioritising of investment in mental health services. Reporting on the findings, Kieran O’Leary - a Director at Ipsos MRBI - described the instigation of this research by MHR as ‘brave’. There was really no way of knowing in advance whether investment in mental health services would be prioritised by the public.

1,018 face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of the Irish adult population took place in June and July 2018. The research participants were presented with scenarios and asked to allocate a hypothetical amount of investment across three different health programmes - out of hours mental health services for children, respite care for children and scoliosis care for children. All three areas could be considered as highly emotive - care for sick and dying children, surgery for children with a medical condition and access to out of hours services for children with mental health issues. The research found a consistently held view, across various groups in the population, that the allocation of spending on mental health is a priority. The spend on the child mental health programme should be at least as high, if not higher, than the spend on respite care or scoliosis care, the findings show.

The analysis found no impact between personal experience of a particular health difficulty and the prioritisation of investment in that programme. Even amongst those who had no experience of mental health problems, the allocation of investment was the same. Factors other than personal experience, then, determine the investment decision. Those prioritising mental health services reported feeling that there was insufficient investment in this area and also the concern that this is likely to become a big health problem in the future.

Overall, 84% of this nationally representative sample identified that too little focus is placed by the health service on mental health. The current funding allocated to mental health, as a proportion of the overall health budget, is just 6%. As Shari McDaid - Executive Director of MHR - says in her foreword to the report, this is ‘well below both national and international standards. Sláintecare, the ten-year vision to transform Ireland’s health and social care services recommends that mental health spending increase to 10% of overall health spend’.

With Mental Health Week fast approaching and coinciding, as it does, with Budget 2019, the time is ripe for the Government to grasp where the public appetite lies.

 The full report is available under the following link: 








Mental Health Reform's Director Dr. Shari McDaid, IACP Innovation and Development Manager Iwona Blasi and Chairperson of Mental Health Reform - Prof. Agnes Higgins sharing views on the Report and IACP's Pre-budget Submission in relation to call for increased investment in mental health and talking therapies 

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