There is an overall decline in the amount set aside for mental-health services this fiscal year when compared with the sum allocated during the 2019-2020 financial year.
The Government has signalled that it will spend $1.5 billion on mental-health services for the 2020-2021 fiscal year when compared with the $1.8 billion expended for the current period.
This is set out in the Estimates of Expenditure which was tabled yesterday in Parliament.
However, the allocation for rehabilitative health services has spiked from $68.4 million in 2019-2020 to $101.6 million for the new financial year.
Just last week, government senator and consultant psychiatrist Dr Saphire Longmore called for increased resources to tackle the serious mental-health issues across the country.
She argued that strategic plans for mental-health had been crafted from the 1990s, with another version done in 2006.
“It is time for us to put funding behind mental health,” she urged, as she made her contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Upper House.
Longmore said that many Jamaicans had been diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. She noted that these mental-health issues were pervasive in the society but there were limited trained human resources to deal with these health problems.