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Mental Health Fund to be Launched

  • 18/04/2019
  • Author:bridgetmccall

To provide grant aid to community organisations to help reduce loneliness

Older lady looking out the window

A €3 million mental health fund to help community organisations to reduce loneliness is to be launched in May. This has been secured by the Minister of State for Mental Health, Jim Daly, and will be separate from the Health Service Executive's mental health budget.

Charities and other community groups will be able to submit applications for grants of between €5,000 and €100,000 for projects.

Loneliness Task Force

This follows the setting up of a Loneliness Taskforce by older people's charity ALONE, working with GP and Senator Dr Keith Swanick and other mental health professionals. A report, Connected Island: An Ireland Free from Loneliness, was published in June 2018, which made several recommendations to reduce loneliness in Ireland.

ALONE welcomed news of this new fund, seeing it as welcome recognition from the Government of the seriousness of loneliness as a health issue and highlights its willingness to tackle it.

Seán Moynihan, Chief Executive of ALONE, said: “Today’s news is a significant achievement for the Loneliness Taskforce and the ongoing work across Ireland to highlight the loneliness epidemic, which is affecting people of all age groups. ALONE is proud to have worked on this for more than a year with Senator Swanick and the other members of the Taskforce. Our work has highlighted just how important this is to people across Ireland and we welcome the Government’s response.

“Loneliness can seriously impact your physical and mental health, and evidence has shown that older people experiencing high levels of loneliness are almost twice as likely to die within six years compared to those who are not lonely. It is vital to support grassroots community organisations which have emerged because they have witnessed, first-hand, the need to combat loneliness, and to ensure supports are community-led. Many organisations are already working on this and we must make sure these receive adequate support. The €3 million funding announced this morning will go a long way to ensure that this happens.”

Sources:

Irish Times: Government to unveil €3 million mental health fund to combat loneliness

ALONE: ALONE welcomes announcement of €3M to tackle loneliness

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