I thank the Deputy for this important question. Providing rapid access to high-quality mental health services and the supports needed is an absolute priority for me, the Minister of State, Deputy Butler, and the Government. I would say that is the case for everybody in this House. Sharing the Vision: A Mental Health Policy for Everyone was published in June 2020 and is our national mental health policy. We are now implementing this strategy with a total allocation of €1.1 billion in the current budget. It is the largest mental health budget in the history of the State. It has been put there to ensure this is rolled out. As the Deputy quite rightly said, Sharing the Vision, though an excellent strategy, was not at the time gender-proofed.
One of the issues we are priotising at the moment is women's health. This relates to both their physical health, and we launched the women's health action plan two or three weeks ago, but also their mental health. One of the things we are doing that has come out of the work is to gender-proof the various strategies, with one of them being mental health. As we all know, mental health services are needed by men and women and boys and girls but there are some services exclusively used for women such as perinatal mental health. There are also services where we know the majority of service users are women, young women or girls. I am referring to eating disorders and self-harm, for example.
As part of the national implementation and monitoring committee that oversees the implementation of Sharing the Vision, various specialist groups have been established. The specialist group has a short-term remit to gender-proof the strategy with a focus on gender-proofing and implementation. This is just one of the ways we are embedding and prioritising women’s health.
The group the Deputy referred to is chaired by Dr. Siobhán McHale. It includes a mix of mental health and women’s health specialists. It is supported by a diverse consultation panel involving a wide range of professional and civil society perspectives to inform the process.