Sinn Féin makes Dáil demand for 24/7 mental health care services
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader and spokesperson on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Mary Lou McDonald has call on the government to publish an implementation plan for delivering full 24/7 crisis care services for people in mental health distress.
Teachta McDonald made her comments as Sinn Féin today table a motion on the mental health services focusing on the need for out of hours supports for people with mental health problems and particularly those at risk of suicide or self-harm.
The motion, authored by Deputy McDonald and her party colleague Pat Buckley TD, will be debated in the Dáil this afternoon.
Deputy McDonald said;
"For far too long our mental health services have been under funded and under staffed. This has had very serious and tragic consequences. The Vision for Change document, a radical plan for our services, is now 10 years old and much of it has not been implemented.
“If the government is serious about providing the best care for people with mental health difficulties then it must commit to the full implementation of Vision for Change and the funding needed to do this.
“A major part of Vision for Change was a move from institutional based care to a community model. This was a positive step but the necessary community structures have not been developed. Our mental health services all to often operate on normal working hours, but that is not how mental health works.
“We need a system which can appropriately deal people in distress at any hour on any day. Currently we do not have such a crisis intervention service in this state. Years of austerity in particular have made this very difficult.
“We need to end the scandal of people who are at risk of taking their lives or seriously harming themselves being forced to attend crowded A&E's which are not appropriate for their mental state nor capable to addressing their needs."
Deputy Buckley added;
"The lack of a 24/7 crisis intervention service has been highlighted again and again, in every part of the state as a major problem. It has meant that many people are slipping through the cracks, with very tragic consequences. The government has said before that it supports this model, now we need to see action on this.
“We must see an implementation plan as soon as possible and a commitment to funding which would make this possible. Until then we will continue to see this problem grow and more families will be devastated by the consequences of this glaring gap in our services."