Just under half of the HSE’s community mental health services provide support seven days a week, it has emerged.
Only eight of the 17 mental health areas within its nine community healthcare organisations provide a full weekend support.
Mental Health Reform, the national coalition for mental health, said the provision of mental health services on an everyday basis was a core part of ‘A Vision for Change’.
The 10-year old report on mental health policy details a comprehensive model of mental health service provision for Ireland.
It describes a framework for providing accessible, community-based specialist services for people with mental illness.
However, the HSE said it had never been government policy to make community mental health services available around the clock.
Director of Mental Health Reform, Shari McDaid, said it was unacceptable that substantial areas of the country were still without full weekend support for people with a mental health problem.
Yesterday, the HSE’s national director of mental health, Ann O’Connor, said on RTE radio the number of services providing seven days a week support was being increased “gradually”
Ms O’Connor said 37,000 people were referred to the HSE’s 114 community mental teams last year. Half were seen in under four weeks and just under a quarter were seen within a week, which was a good urgent response.
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