I have made my feeling on the state of mental health services in Ireland known in asides many times. But this Mental Health Day highlighted the disconnect between what the Irish government and its various agencies claims, and what they put into practise.
The Green Ribbon (#EndtheStigma) campaign caught the support of numerous politicians. The Health Service Executive (HSE) put out a website for mental health reform. In fact there are a half dozen websites on Irish mental health that trace back to the HSE, all carrying variations on the message talk to your friends and family and if that doesn’t work call Samaritans.
When actual medical help is pursued (outside of a university setting) it can only really be done through a GP.
The GP is flawed for a few reasons not least of all the cost. Not all GPs are qualified to deal with mental illness outside of some work related stress. It also puts mental health resources behind a pay wall.
The Green Ribbon campaign and more recently the #LittleThings campaign act as though depression or anxiety are the only mental illnesses. It can appear that the health executive is not aware that schizophrenia, bipolar, or BPD exist never mind anyone dealing with compulsive behaviours. I felt this tweet by the #LittleThings campaign particularly through people with Eating Disorders under the bus.
This isn’t good enough and we should demand better.