Any government delay on mental health services will “worsen an already desperate situation”

Union of Students in Ireland calling for €37m investment in 24/7 intervention services

The Union of Students in Ireland and Mental Health Reform have called on the government to “clarify their commitment” to providing €37.5m in the budget for mental health care.

Mental Health Reform Director, Dr Shari McDaid, said the government had already committed to measures including the introduction of nationwide 24/7 intervention services to reduce the number of suicide deaths in Ireland.

More Irish people currently die by suicide than through road accidents.

“We are seeking clarification now as to whether this will be realised in next year’s budget,” said Dr McDaid.

“In the context of a 48% shortage in child and adolescent mental health service staff and lack of 24/7 mental health services across the country, full implementation cannot wait any longer.”

USI president Annie Hoey said people who are suffering with mental health issues should not be forced to go to the gardaí or Emergency Department for help.

“The delay to access to proper mental health services deepens the damages of mental illness,” she said.

“Without proper treatment, mental illness can rapidly deteriorate with devastating consequences.”

“The most obvious solution for progression in the field of mental health services is substantial cross-party commitment on immediately setting up 24/7 intervention services nationwide – and we are urging the government to clarify their commitment to providing the funding for these services in Budget 2017.”

Full implementation of the recommendations would cost the exchequer €37.5m per year.