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NOWHERE TO TURN: Have Irish people died because they can't access out-of-hours mental health care?
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Acute mental health services are under increasing pressure across Ireland with out-of-hours care being identified as a major issue in many reports.

A report by the joint committee on the future of mental healthcare in 2018 said that a huge problem was the “pressure placed on emergency departments which are not equipped to deal with mental health presentations and the lack of service to deal with crises”.

Out-of-hours mental health services “is a sorely needed shift”, according to the report, which added that “funding and consequent recruitment has to be increased sufficiently to enable” 24/7 care.

A recent study found acute mental health presentations by 16-18 year olds to hospital emergency departments occur out-of-hours the vast majority (75%) of the time. These crises mainly included self-harm or suicidal ideation. Almost all adolescents studied (96%) were discharged following assessment.

HELP US INVESTIGATE

We want to find out if people’s lives and health are being impacted by the lack of mental health out-of-hours services across certain areas in Ireland. We will do this by talking to people who are affected, as well as through FOIs and extensive research.

The HSE National Service Plan 2019 stated it would “work to develop a seven day per week service” for child and adolescent mental health. Yet, the director of Mental Health Reform, told the joint committee on health last May that “there is not even a date for producing a plan to see how that can happen”. We want to investigate why this has taken so long to implement and how it is impacting young people.

We also want to look at the mental health services provided by other countries and how they differ in their approach compared to the HSE.

Have you any information that you think would help this investigation or would like to tell us your story, contact us at [email protected]

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