Protesters call for Council action on mental health crisis

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participants in the protest "Stand up for Mental Health" outside Limerick City and County Council offices on Merchant's Quay. Photo: Cian Reinhardt

THE ‘Stand Up For Mental Health’ campaign, which last month saw protesters enter the council chambers at City Hall to call for action in Limerick, is now planning another protest.

Campaigners say they have no choice but to call another protest to highlight the lack of action being taken by the local authority to address the mental health crisis in Limerick. They are insisting that the local authority needs to provide adequate funding for mental health in their upcoming budget in November.

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“Limerick has twice the national average rate of suicide and has the highest rate of adolescent self harm in the country. The lack of political will at national level means the responsibility now rests on our local Council to lead the way,” said Seónaidh Ní Shíomóin, one of the campaign activists.

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“‘The Limerick Local Economic and Community Plan 2016-2021,’ states that it aims to promote conditions in local communities to support positive mental health. It’s high time the Council actually fulfilled this commitment and put their money where their mouths are.

“One of the many vacant Council-owned buildings around the city should be immediately handed over to the suicide patrols, along with funding to set it up. We also need an out of hours on-call crisis counsellor, who could operate out of this same base.

“Councillors have hundreds of thousands of Euro in discretionary spending through the General Municipal Allocation, so the poor mouth won’t wash with us. We demand the political will to put their fine words on mental health into action,” she declared.

Antoinette Sheppard, who attended last month’s protest at City Hall, said that families of suicide victims and activists with the campaign were given a commitment by the Council chief executive, Dr Pat Daly, to discuss possible interventions which they think would alleviate the current crisis.

“We requested this meeting and have since been met with a wall of silence. This shows a blatant disregard to those families who seek action and leadership from the Council. If they continue to ignore us, we will just shout louder. This crisis isn’t going away any time soon, and neither are we,” Antoinette commented.

The Stand Up For Mental Health protest will begin at City Hall, Merchants Quay on Saturday, October 26 at 12.30pm.