A question on the government policy and plan of action on the hugely emotive issue of suicide, particularly in young adult males was shrugged off with the usual statistics on funding amounts and the usual train of reports which have been written or are being created by the latest committees. There was no sense of urgency from the Taoiseach and no new commitment to doing anything extra at leaders questions today. It looks like decisions will be defered until the next report comes out next year on mental health policy. At that stage there'll probably be another report to wait for as has been the norm for mental health since the innovative 1984 report.
The former minister for Mental health Tim O'malley is now minister for disability and mental health and food safety according to the Irish Times today. It makes sense that mental health no longer warrants it's own junior ministry because of the bleeding of funding in relative terms in recent times. It was important to acknowledge disability and give it a more central role in government decision-making but it doesn't look hopefull when you consider what happened to mental health funding when it had a junior minister looking after it's interests.
There is still hope that attitudes will change; that the stigma surrounding mental health will evaporate and mean when it comes to funding it, there will be as strong a lobby as the other health sectors have. Time will tell if there is going to be action soon to really tackle the critical suicide and attempted suicide issues, the silent tragedy in irish life.