Taipei, July 29 (CNA) Taiwan’s Cabinet on Thursday approved a NT$40.7 billion (US$1.46 billion) plan that is aimed primarily at strengthening the social safety net over the next five years, with an emphasis on public sector hiring and mental health services.
The funding is six times the government’s three-year plan of NT$700 million for social services, which was introduced in 2018, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said at a Cabinet meeting.
According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the plan would allow for the hiring of an additional 7,797 public sector workers and subsidization of the salaries of 2,024 workers at non-governmental organizations.
It would also bolster mental health support services by providing funds for the construction 71 community mental health centers and 49 facilities to assist people with psychiatric disorders, the ministry said.
Within the justice system, it would fund six new facilities and one designated hospital for people placed in involuntary commitment due to mental disorders, the ministry said.
More broadly, the plan would fund the establishment of 156 new social welfare centers, which often provide help to the elderly and families at risk, as well as 10 child protection centers, the health ministry said.
In recent years, Taiwan has seen a number of high-profile murder cases, in which the offenders were found to be suffering from severe mental illness. Those cases have prompted calls for greater emphasis on prevention measures and for stricter penalties.