‘Very disappointed’ – Irish Counseling and Psychotherapy Association says mental health budget ‘is insufficient’

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The Irish Counseling and Psychotherapy Association (IACP) says the budget for mental health is well below what is needed in the wake of the pandemic.

Association CEO Lisa Molly said:

“Although there are positive measures announced yesterday, we are also very disappointed with some omissions.

“The IACP believes the government has missed an opportunity to really boost funding for mental health given the urgent need for support that exists after the pandemic.”

Mental health spending now represents 5.6% of total health spending (excluding investments and Covid spending). This is well below the 10-12% of health spending on mental health in many European countries, including the UK.

However, in yesterday’s budget there is in fact a decrease of 52%. 100% more mental health spending than last year’s allocation. Given the severity of the mental health crisis following the pandemic “it is simply not enough”, she added.

“While we particularly welcome additional funding for the treatment of eating disorders, child and adolescent mental health centers and after-hours alternatives for emergency services for people in crisis, we think more money could have been spent on mental health in general. “

In a general survey of public mental health, commissioned by the IACP in March this year, 70% of those polled said they had felt often or sometimes stressed in the previous two weeks (up from 46% in March 2019 ), 63% said they felt anxious (up from 35% in 2019).

45% said they felt depressed (up from 21% in 2019) and 49% said they felt alone or isolated (up from 19% two years earlier).

HSE specialists have warned IACP of a “tsunami of mental health needs” and it’s clear.

“We are also disappointed that our pre-budget submission was not taken into account.

“The IACP had called for access to therapy to be expanded by two modest measures, namely the full extension of the tax relief on medical costs to include counseling and psychotherapy as well as the application of the VAT exemption for professional medical care services, now assessed at 13.5%, on income above € 37,500 for counselors and psychotherapists.

“These measures would have increased accessibility to therapy.

“The IACP believes that the government has missed an opportunity to address long-standing deficiencies in our mental health system and that this will have a significant impact on society in the years to come. “

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