A continued neglect of rural Ireland is contributing to mental health problems according to Roisin Garvey.
Garvey who is representing the Green Party in next month’s local elections has sought increased provision of mental health services and supports for rural communities. “Ireland has a well-documented shortage of adequate mental health services and supports and this is especially the case in the more rural parts of our county. Mental health is something we are all connected to. It concerns our ability to lead our lives to our fullest potential, particularly during hard times. It’s about creating a caring community that looks out for each other, and sometimes this requires having the proper supports in place.”
In a statement to The Clare Echo, the Inagh woman referenced the West Clare Family Resource Centre which was forced to withdraw it’s low cost counselling service in December due to lack of funds. “The ongoing under investment in services cannot be allowed to continue. Clare has a very high suicide rate, especially among young men. I’ve heard from people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Others have children and teenagers on lengthy waiting lists to get counselling for issues such as abuse, addiction, anxiety, depression, self-harm and eating disorders. So many amazing local voluntary groups have popped up to help fundraise and provide support but it’s not enough. We need the state to act and I think the Council has a role to play here in helping ensure services are available in the more rural parts of the county.”
She continued, “The closures of Garda stations, shops, pubs and post offices have in recent times all added to the challenges of rural isolation. We have an epidemic of loneliness and this isn’t helped by a lack of public transport options. I think it’s therefore vital that we all ramp up our efforts in celebrating community initiatives that bring people together, whether that be through sport, music, walking or just meeting up for conversation and connection. It’s vital we look out for people who might be particularly vulnerable and I think that’s why we need both strong social networks but also a proper services in place.”