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McDonald calls for 24/7 Mental Health Services

1 February, 2017 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Mental Health spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has called on the Government to put in place 24/7 crisis intervention services in Mental Health. She made her comments after campaigns group Uplift delivered a petition calling for 24/7 services which has been signed by nearly 12,000 members of the public.

Deputy McDonald said:

“24/7 services are an essential part of ensuring that people in mental health distress get the care they need whenever that may be. At present, many services community services only operate until the evening time and not at all Saturdays and Sundays. Mental health doesn't operate on office hours and our services must reflect this.

“Sinn Féin brought a motion to the Dáil last year demanding a timeline for delivery of 7 day and, ultimately, 24 hour services. Unfortunately, Fine Gael opposed it and Fianna Fáil allowed it to be defeated. Given the paltry increase to the mental health budget announced in November, well below what was promised during the election, it is now past time for the Government to revisit their approach to mental health and begin tackling the serious problems that exist.

“The lack of these services is costing lives, people who are very vulnerable are afraid to seek care out of hours, those who do are forced to enter the inappropriate and too often chaotic environment of A&Es. This at best has a chilling effect on those who need support; at its most tragic, it has resulted in people taking their lives, isolated and desperate.

“I support the call from the petition collected by Uplift and will work to see that this issue is finally addressed.” 

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