There can hardly be an area where hope, where optimism can be such a catalyst for recovery as it is when individuals or families are confronted with mental health difficulties. Without hope and enduring optimism, mental health challenges can be exacerbated and, occasionally, made to seem insurmountable. One of the ways hope is inculcated is when difficulties are recognised and programmes to confront them are designed if not put in place.
One was the 2006 Vision for Change (VFC), which was to revolutionise mental health services so the victims, and those sharing their troubled lives, might be helped restore some stability to their world. It is not surprising, though it is a great disappointment that, 13 years later, that Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) teams are a little over half way — 55.8% — to the benchmark set all those years ago. It has been estimated that €40m is needed to bring services up to the standard envisaged in VFC, which, according to mental health minister Jim Daly, is being “refreshed”.
Just as optimism is essential in resolving mental health issues it is an increasingly precious jewel for those who still hope our political system can “refresh” itself so it might lead the kind of change that would mean that an announcement, like the 2006 VFC one, might actually be delivered, that those who publish grand blueprints ensure delivery. Vision is one thing but change would be even more welcome.