Ministers Donnelly and Butler announce additional €1.9m in funding for women’s mental health services through the Women’s Health Fund

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD and Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD today announced an additional €1.9m in funding for women’s mental health services in 2022 through the Women’s Health Fund. The latest allocation of up to €1.9m from the Women’s Health Fund will see a significant expansion of mental health supports and services for women and girls across Ireland. This investment builds on mental health funding of €1.149 billion in Budget 2022, the largest mental health budget in the history of the state.

A person’s gender can have a significant impact on their mental health needs and service requirements. Ensuring the provision of gender-sensitive mental health services and supports is a key priority for Government, in line with the recommendations of our national mental health policy, Sharing the Vision. This additional funding will allow for further enhancement of our mental health services by ensuring that they appropriately meet the needs of women and girls, who are often disadvantaged when accessing services that are not gender sensitive.

This allocation will increase investment in both community and primary care mental health services for women and girls, with an emphasis on mental health promotion and early intervention. In addition, specialist services for women and girls who have more complex care needs will receive further funding to ensure they are gender and trauma aware. Following consultation with the HSE, the Department will allocate up to €1.9m to accelerate the development of a range of services to support women and girls, including:

  • Increasing access to digital mental health services
  • Innovating in perinatal mental health
  • Enhancing specialist eating disorder supports
  • Targeted mental health supports for marginalised groups
  • Targeted mental health supports for women in addiction
  • Responding to at risk girls’ mental health
  • Continuing to listen to the mental health needs of women and girls

Minister Donnelly said: “Today’s announcement is the result of long-standing collaboration between officials in the Department and the HSE working with clinical experts and experts by experience to propose targeted measures to improve the supports available to women and girls in 2022.

“The range of supports provided by this investment will make a real and lasting difference to the mental health services available to women and girls in Ireland. We have more to do but I’m delighted we could accelerate support for these services mid-year through the Women’s Health Fund.”

Minister Butler said: We know that women can experience mental health differently to other genders, with challenges relating to perinatal mental health, eating disorders, and caring responsibilities all having a significant impact. We also know that marginalised women can be disproportionately affected and have difficulties accessing services. This investment targets these key concerns, with a range of enhanced supports in areas including perinatal mental health, eating disorder specialist clinics, and innovative telehealth supports.

“I look forward to the outputs of the specialist group on women’s health, which will provide key insights into how we can further support the mental health of women and girls in Ireland.”

This investment builds on the progress underway through Sharing the Vision, as well as the Women’s Health Action Plan 2022-23, which has identified improving women’s mental health outcomes and experiences as a central priority. The National Implementation and Monitoring Committee (NIMC) Specialist Group on Women’s Mental Health was established in August 2021. The purpose of the Specialist Group is to advise the NIMC Steering Committee on the implementation of Recommendation 3. This recommendation ensures that mental health priorities and services are gender-sensitive and that women’s mental health is specifically and sufficiently addressed in the implementation of policy. The specialist group is set to report on its recommendations in the coming months which will see further actions proposed to support gender sensitive mental health services in Ireland.

Additional €1.9m in funding for women’s mental health services through the Women’s Health Fund

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