Samaritans report underlines vital need for 24/7 services - Pat Buckley TD
Sinn Féin Deputy Spokesperson on Mental Health Pat Buckley TD has called on the government to prioritise the delivery of 24/7 crisis intervention services in the wake of a report from the Samaritans that highlighted an increased demand for supports between 6pm and 6am. The report released today by The Samaritans showed that 54% of the calls they receive for supports for people in distress happen outside of normal office hours.
Deputy Buckley said;
"The report released by Samaritans today is very welcome and contains a lot of important points that the government must take heed of in their management of mental health services. One such issue which has been dramatically underlined by the report is the need for services to be accessible outside of office hours.
“A huge 54% of calls to Samaritans were made between 6pm and 6am when services which operate a day shift are unable to tend to the needs of those in distress. That figure represents 327,048 individual calls. This does not take into account the number of calls made at anytime between 6pm on Fridays and Monday morning when many services are also closed. Two of the three busiest days for Samaritans are Saturday and Sunday, Monday is another busy day when people who have weathered a difficult weekend need the most support.
“We have all heard the horror stories of families affected by a loved one in distress having to wait in A&E or go to the Gardai when they are at risk in the small hours of the morning or at weekends. Nurses, doctors and Gardai do their best but unfortunately too many of these cases have ended in tragedy.
“Sinn Féin along with a range of groups like Mental Health Reform have made clear that 7 day services and in the longer run 24/7 services must be a priority. This requires the government to provide sufficient funding and backing. We need better staffed community mental health teams, we need to develop a 7 day roster in the next 12 months and begin building up services today to bring in out of hours services as soon as possible.
“We have already waited too long."