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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 360 - Mental health services provision [7764/16].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 360 - Mental health services provision [7764/16]. (20 Apr 2016)

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360. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health if there is a formal or informal policy operating within the health and emergency services of refusing care to mental health and suicidal cases if the individual is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. [7764/16]


Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): The standard practice for patients presenting to Emergency Departments with mental health issues who have also misused substances is that the mental health assessment is postponed until the individual is no longer intoxicated and is medically fit to engage in the assessment process. In the interim, the patient remains under the care of the Hospital Emergency Department Team.


As part of the Self Harm Clinical Programme in operation since 2014, 33.5 Clinical Nurse Specialists have been allocated to Emergency Departments to provide a rapid response (assessment and follow up) to people presenting with self-harm and suicidal tendencies.


Service users presenting with co-morbid mental health and addiction problems are mostly seen by general adult Community Mental Health Teams, who offer both addiction counselling expertise and mental health intervention as part of an integrated care plan. These teams are also responsible for linking these service users to community-based recovery and support programmes as part of facilitating full community re-integration.


Additionally, the HSE Mental Health Directorate has plans to implement a new ‘Dual Diagnosis’ clinical programme in 2016 which aims to address those service users with co-morbid mental health and addiction problems. The overarching aim of this national programme is to standardise quality evidence based practice across the Mental Health Services, bringing together clinical disciplines and enabling them to share innovative solutions to deliver greater benefits to every user of HSE services.

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