A petition signed by over 45,000 people asking for a 24/7 emergency department to offer better mental health services was recently handed to the Minister of State for Health, as part of a campaign by community group Uplift*.
Stacey Quinn, Uplift member, who started the petition on ‘MyUplift’ said that with more and more lives taken daily around the country by suicide, the only way forward is to engage with the people who have mental health illnesses and listen to their needs.
The petition was handed to Mary Butler TD, Minister of State for Health, with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, in her own constituency in Waterford on Saturday 19 September.
“Mental health care needs to be separate from general hospitals and treated as equal to physical health. The new campaign is calling for people to stand together to fight for better mental health services and to demand and a 24/7 emergency department service,” Quinn noted.
“As someone who suffered with mental health in the past and who is also beavered several times by suicide, each suicide loss is a lesson learned. A 24/7 emergency department service can save lives,” she added.
Noting that the government has failed to act for too long, Uplift campaigner Michelle Byrne said that accepting this petition is the first step. “We hope to see action taken by the Minister in Budget 2021 in October. But Uplift members will keep pushing until we see 24/7 emergency services rolled out across the country.”
*Uplift is a community of over 280,000 people in Ireland; thousands take action together on weekly basis, such as signing petitions or contacting their TDs, to help build a more equal, sustainable and just Ireland.