Minister’s announcement of roadmap for out-of-hours access to mental health services welcomed by campaigning groups
A group of organisations including A Lust for Life, Future Voices, Mental Health Reform and Uplift, who have been campaigning for holistic, 24/7 community-based mental health services throughout the country, today welcomed the statement by Minister of State for Mental Health Helen McEntee, TD that work is underway on a roadmap for developing out-of-hours access to mental health services.
Speaking in response to the announcement, Shari McDaid, Director, said, “It is good to see that the Minister has heard the concern of thousands of individuals affected by mental distress and is putting together a roadmap to widening access throughout the country to a minimum of 7-days-a-week mental health services with a view to achieving 24/7 access. Better access to out-of-hours crisis mental health support is urgently needed. I look forward to seeing the roadmap and hope see in it action that will achieve the needed improvement in access for people of all ages in severe mental and emotional distress.”
“The Minister of State has also recently confirmed that recruitment can now begin of 114 Assistant Psychologists and 20 Staff Grade Psychologists to increase mental health capacity in primary care as part of the commitment to develop early intervention and prevention counselling services, particularly for young people under age 18. This initiative which was allocated €5M in 2016 is key to reducing waiting lists for child and adolescent mental health services and should now be progressed by the HSE as a priority. Putting mental health workers in primary care has the potential to provide quicker access to mental health supports for families and children where difficulties have arisen and prevent more serious difficulties from occurring.”
Niall Breslin said ‘It’s encouraging that our Minister for Mental Health Helen McEntee immediately and respectfully responded to our petition calling for action and implementation as that is exactly what is required to make 24/7 mental health services a reality. There is no reason whatsoever this cannot happen. I’m looking forward to working with government to provide any kind of support we can.’
Emily Duffy of Uplift commented, “This looks positive, but the campaign won’t be going away until we have seen the delivery of these services across the country. People in Ireland have waited a long time to be able to access the services they need, when they need them. There can be little delay – we need to see 24/7 Community Mental health services in place and functioning well as soon as possible.”