23,000 people presenting to A&E with suicidal thoughts "extremely worrying" - Mark Ward TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has said figures released to him on people presenting to Emergency Departments with suicidal ideation are "extremely worrying".
23,000 people presented to 25 hospitals with suicidal ideation, or suicidal thoughts, between 2018 and 2021.
Teachta Ward said:
“Suicidal ideation or suicidal thoughts is regarded as an indicator of serious mental and emotional distress, and repeated episodes may lead to self harm.
“To see a continuing high rate of presentations to hospitals is very worrying.
“Figures released to me through a parliamentary question showed that 23,000 people presented to 25 hospitals with suicidal ideation between 2018 and 2021 - an average of 15 presentations per day.
“I do welcome that there is no significant increase in figures between 2018 and 2021, but 5,154 people presenting in 2021 is still way too high.
“It could be some time before the impact of the pandemic on suicide and self-harm is assessed, but we need to put measures in place now that will make a difference.
“Our emergency departments are under intense pressure and we must make sure they are properly resourced.
“Liaison Psychiatry Services are tasked with treating those who present with suicidal indentations. They are available in all acute hospitals in Ireland that have an emergency department, however no services currently meet the minimum level of staffing as per 'A Vision for Change'.
“Also the Government need to roll out nationally the multi-agency crisis de-escalation team that will be piloted in Limerick later this year.
“This team will call to a person experiencing a mental health issue in our community. This specially trained team will meet the person, triage them, treat them and refer or bring them to the appropriate service.
“This was hugely successful in Belfast and has proved to take pressure off our emergency departments."