Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle Says Mental Health Supports Must Be Considered In Policy-making

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said mental health supports must be taken into consideration for every aspect of policy-making.

Deputy Pringle said: “For me, Minister, when we talk about mental health and access to timely and affordable support, we are talking about everyone.

“Mental health should be like climate action – there should be a cross-party, all-government committee and it should be taken into consideration with every aspect of policy-making.”

Deputy Pringle addressed the Dáil today on the Regional Group’s Mental Health Private Member’s Motion, which he co-signed. The motion called on Government to ensure that mental health is a central part of the Government response to the Covid-19 pandemic, along with a number of other measures to ensure that mental health supports are accessible to all.

Deputy Pringle said: “Right now, if you have €60 or €70 per week spare, you can access private counselling sessions. If you can’t pay privately you are on waiting lists. With Covid, you may only have had online access to therapy. What if you don’t have a computer, smartphone or safe space to talk to your counsellor?”

He asked about access to mental health supports for people in emergency accommodation or direct provision, and pointed to the high suicide rate for members of the Traveller community.

Deputy Pringle said: “If vulnerable, marginalised or targeted groups say, ‘nothing about us, without us’ we should listen, we should allow them space to tell us what they need and then we should do everything we can to take action.

“That will make a difference to people’s mental health – that and the resources for timely and affordable access to supports,” he said. “Mental health matters for all of us.”