ONE TWEET from actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry helped add more than one thousand signatures to a campaign to improve mental health services in Ireland.
Last week, Fry, who has over six million Twitter followers, posted this message on the social networking site: “Please sign the petition to keep pressure on Irish Govt for community #mentalhealth funding.”
His tweet included a link to a petition started by Ireland’s Mental Health Reform organisation.
The petition, which aims to collect 10,000 signatures, is part of an eight-week campaign calling on the Irish Government to “Do What Works” for mental health.
After Fry’s tweet, 1,170 signatures were added in a single day, according to Mental Health Reform and 437 people retweeted Fry’s comment.
At present, 5,000 people have added their signatures to the campaign. Best-selling Irish author Marian Keyes, who has been vocal about her own experience with depression, has also re-tweeted her support.
Recently, Stephen Fry, who is the president of mental health charity Mind, spoke out about his own mental health issues and a recent suicide attempt.
During an interview for Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, the actor said he had taken “a huge number of pills” and drank vodka while out of the country filming a series for the BBC.
The producer found him in an “unconscious state” and he was taken back to Britain to recover.
“I am the victim of my own moods, more than most people are perhaps, in as much as I have a condition which requires me to take medication so that I don’t get either too hyper or too depressed to the point of suicide”, said Fry.
Orla Barry, Director of Mental Health Reform was pleased with the reaction Fry’s tweet has generated.
The charity has also reached out to Irish celebrities Dara O’Briain, Amy Huberman and ex-rugby international Alan Quinlan on Twitter.
“While we have had promises in the last two Budgets that the Government would invest €35million each year in community mental health services, the follow through on these promises has been frustratingly slow.
“We now need a firm commitment in Budget 2014 that the €35million promised in the Programme for Government will be delivered and spent in a timely manner in 2014”, said Barry.
Barry told The Irish Post the campaign was going “really well” so far.
“There are lots of good examples of mental health services in Ireland and our goal is to ensure there is consistency and a good quality service for anyone seeking help”, she added.
The petition, which will close on October 15, will be sent to the Taoiseach, Minister for Finance, Minister for Health, Minister of State for Mental Health and Minister of State for Primary Care ahead of Budget Day.