Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 50 - Mental health services provision [4633/17].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 50 - Mental health services provision [4633/17]. (01 Feb 2017)

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50. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health  the status of the establishment of the clinical stream within the HSE tasked with the issue of interacting mental illness and addiction which leaves many persons in severe mental health distress struggling to find adequate treatment. [4633/17]


Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Helen McEntee): The HSE Mental Health Division, along with the Clinical Strategy and Programmes Division and the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, have recognised the need for a Clinical Programme for Dual Diagnosis to respond to people with substance misuse, both alcohol and/or drugs, together with mental illness. A Programme Manager has been appointed to oversee the Clinical Programme. In addition, a Clinical Lead has been identified at interview and will be seconded pending discussions with the local Addictions Service.


The Primary Care Division has already appointed a National Clinical Lead for the Addiction Services to improve its response to drug and alcohol abuse at primary care level and this Clinical Lead will work with the Mental Health Clinical Lead to develop a programme for those with a dual diagnosis.


The aim of this Programme is to develop a standardised evidence-based approach to the identification, assessment and treatment of comorbid mental illness and substance misuse. These include increasing awareness of the frequent coexistence of mental illness and substance misuse; ensuring there is a clear clinical pathway for management of people with such a dual diagnosis including when they present to Emergency Departments; ensuring a standardised service is provided throughout the country; and ensuring adolescents are also included within the scope of this Clinical Programme.


An integral part of the Dual Diagnosis Programme will be to devise a model of care that will ensure that all adolescents and adults suspected of having a moderate to severe mental illness coexisting with significant substance misuse have access to a timely mental health service delivered on a regional basis. The service will be provided in an integrated manner across the Primary Care Division and the Mental Health Service. There will also be close working relationships with the relevant specialities in Acute Hospitals to deal with any medical comorbidities that may occur, particularly in those with alcohol misuse.

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