Reader urges candidates to make mental health a priority
As a voter and a person who uses our mental health services and as a concerned citizen, I am writing this letter to ask each representative to please keep mental health at the front of their election promises.
I have faith in our mental health services but although the work has begun, there is still plenty of work still to be done.
I have used the services over the last 16 years and I firmly believe hard work still needs to be done.
Firstly we need to put the mental health of our young people to the top of the political agenda by putting in place in our schools a mental health education policy to help our young people deal with their mental health, or emotional issues that may arise.
Secondly, we need to have access to 24 hour crisis support 7 days a week in each county not just a few.
Good health is a 24 hour, 7 day necessity that does not disappear at 5 pm.
Mental health is the same. We need access to crisis support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.
Thirdly, we need easy access to counselling services a service which speaks for itself.
We all need someone (a professional) to speak to at some stage in our lives.
Fourthly, we need a right to advocacy support for all.
Sometimes people need an advocate to help navigate the red tape in accessing services, particularly if you have a mental health difficulty.
This is a basic human right to have someone speak for you if you are not able to do so yourself.
Fifthly, and not necessarily last, the right to have an advance medical directive on how your mental health care should proceed and the choice or right to refuse treatment.
I as a citizen of Ireland ask all our incoming political representatives to please keep mental health at the front of your agenda, along with health, homelessness, pensioners, education.
So please when you ask me for my vote, be able to discuss my questions with me.
I don't just want to read your leaflets - I want to discuss the Issues, particularly my issues. I do not want to be fobbed off. I want a discussion. You need to earn my vote!
Concerned Citizen and Voter.