12,000 sign mental health petition presented to Helen McEntee

The need for 24/7 crisis community-based mental health services was raised with the Mental Health Minister Helen McEntee yesterday when she was handed a petition signed by 12,000 people demanding better services.

The signatures were gathered by the #InOurHourOfNeed campaign, which is made up of the Mental Health Reform (MHR), A Lust for Life, Uplift, and Future Voices.

“I think we she was very open to receiving the petition and aware of the need [for 24/7 crisis community care mental health service] and she’s looking into what’s possible,” Dr Shari McDaid, director of the MHR, told the Irish Examiner yesterday.

The campaign first came to prominence last year after a teenager named Peter shared his experience of not being able to access the relevant support during a mental health crisis.

“When I arrived at A&E after attempting to take my own life, I was sent through to a nurse and then put on a trolley,” he said.

“I did not know I was going to spend 19 hours on it, as no one was available to see me out of hours.

“After 19 hours, they transferred me to an adult mental health ward in a different hospital. I did not feel comfortable there as a 16-year-old. I am speaking out now, as I don’t want anyone else in Ireland to have the same experience as me, at their hour of greatest need.”

Ms McEntee said progress was being made toward 24/7 services.

“We need to ensure that seven-day access is in place, across the country, before we move towards the provision of 24/7 access.

@We must walk before we can run. The HSE set up a service improvement project with a dedicated project manager in November 2016, to help ensure that each region provides access to a weekend service for people currently attending the service.

“I’m now working with my department and the HSE on a roadmap to achieve both 7/7 and 24/7 access to mental health services across the country,” she added.

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