The Irish College of General Practitioners welcomes the publication of “Sharing the Vision: A Mental Health Policy for Everyone.”

COVID-19 pandemic will have far-reaching impact on mental health.

Waiting times and difficulties accessing CAMHS needs to be urgently addressed.

The ICGP welcomes the publication of this important document “Sharing the Vision: A Mental Health Policy for Everyone.” As the title states, mental health services should be accessible for everyone – just like general practice. 

GPs provide care for over 90% of patients with mental health conditions. They do this without any need for secondary care input and they have a pivotal role in providing first and ongoing care for these patients.

Dr Brian Osborne, ICGP’s Assistant Medical Director, said:  “GPs need time to deal with patients with mental health conditions. There is a need for general practice to be supported in caring for these patients with greater access to talk therapies including addiction services, improved integration with primary and secondary care and upscaling of digital technologies in mental health services in particular.

He added “The physical healthcare of patients with mental health conditions including severe and enduring mental illness should be led by their GP. A properly funded, integrated, structured programme of care for these patients needs to be implemented as a matter of urgency. “

“ The COVID-19 pandemic crisis will have a far reaching impact on mental health at an individual and societal level. Already grief, isolation, loneliness, anxiety and depression are affecting many lives. Improvements in how society and the health system deal with mental health are long overdue.”

Dr Tony Cox, Medical Director of the ICGP, said: “There are ongoing issues with accessing CAMHS. We welcome the proposed increase in age range for CAMHS to 25 years in order to improve continuity of care and lead to better outcomes, but this must be  implemented in a coherent manner, and the issues around long waiting times and difficulty accessing these services need to be addressed.”

He added: “Sharing the Vision is wide ranging and provides a framework for mental health policy. If implemented in a timely and coherent fashion it can lead to improvements in mental health across the healthcare sector and beyond.” ENDS

Dr Brian Osborne is available for interview.

ISSUED BY: Aileen O’Meara, Communications Consultant ICGP. Tel. 01 2542984 / 087 2239830

Email: Twitter: @ICGPnews