Mental Health Reform is asking the Minister of State for Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch TD, to use her powers to improve access to mental health crisis supports, marking the 8th anniversary of the government mental health policy A Vision for Change on 24th January. In 2012, there were 18,173 admissions to Irish psychiatric units and hospitals, many of which would have come through A&E.
Dr Shari McDaid, Director of Mental Health Reform, said: “People in mental or emotional distress want to be seen quickly, to be listened to and to be treated with respect when they seek help. This is the clear message we are getting from people at our public meetings. And yet, there are some services where the reality is a long wait in A&E, which can exacerbate their distress.”
Dr McDaid continued: “A Vision for Change calls for crisis intervention support to be available in each local area and for this support to be available 24/7. The policy also recommends 15 crisis houses across the country to offer brief respite where hospital admission is not appropriate, and that home-based treatment should be the main method of service delivery.”
“We know that some services have good systems in place for providing access to help out of hours. In West Cork, the mental health service operates a 24-hour listening service. In Kildare, the community mental health team provides a 7-day-a-week service. Services in Clondalkin and Cavan/Monaghan have offered home-based treatment for many years. Responses like these can give people a sense of security and can help to reduce costly hospital admissions”, Dr McDaid continued.
“On the 8th anniversary of A Vision for Change, I urge Minister Lynch and the HSE to ensure that the recommendations on crisis supports are implemented across the country. Specific plans for these recommendations should be included in the HSE’s implementation plan for A Vision for Change. In the meantime, the advice of the National Office for Suicide Prevention is that people in crisis out-of-hours can go to the A&E Department of their nearest general hospital”, concluded Dr McDaid.
For more Information please contact:
Lara Kelly at lkelly@mentalhealthreform.