Luke Ming Flanagan hits out at Government for inaction in tackling mental health issues 3 months ago

Luke Ming Flanagan hits out at Government for inaction in tackling mental health issues

"I'm sick and tired of politicians going on about it and not actually doing anything about it."

Luke Ming Flanagan has criticised the Government, accusing it of lacking action in tackling mental health issues in Ireland.

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The Irish MEP appeared on RTÉ’s European Parliament Report during which he was asked about the EU's new mental health strategy in development.

In response, Flanagan stated that political leaders spend more time talking about mental health issues than actually improving matters.

"Some time ago, over 10 years ago, I noticed people starting to talk about this, people who had problems with it," he said on the programme.

"But I also noticed that politicians seemed to be alerted to the fact that this might make them popular and there are votes in it. And I say this because those people who spoke about it haven't actually done anything to improve the lots of people with mental health but they still bang on about how important it is."

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"If people really cared about mental health," he added, "what they would actually do in Government is improve people's quality of life."

Flanagan said that improving access to housing, education and mental health service would help in this regard, before adding that these steps have not been taken.

"All that happens is lip service is paid to it. I suffer from depression myself. I have relations that suffer from depression," he explained.

"I know from personal experience, even after all this supposed money has been put into it, there is very very little help out there and you would despair when you go and try and get help.

"I'm sick and tired of politicians going on about it and not actually doing anything about it."

Luke Ming Flanagan

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Luke Ming Flanagan on his struggles with depression

That brave statement from Luke Ming Flanagan, during the show, will mean a lot to many people across the island that are going through their own struggles. To have a well known politician speak openly on the matter is important in normalising the conversation.

It is not the first time Flanagan has opened up on his mental health issues. A couple of years ago, he told the Roscommon People:

"I have had this all my life," he said. "I remember as a child, sitting in front of a fire and just looking at it, trying to get lost in it. I just didn’t like what was happening in the world, in my life, whatever it was. It wasn’t because of my family or anything, it was just the way my mind works.

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"Throughout my life, bit by bit, it becomes more and more obvious that there is any issue with it. It affects every day of your life because you have to convince yourself every single day to get up and get going again. I can’t do that all of the time but most of the time I can."