Dublin: Calls To Mental Health Helpline Double During Economic Downturn: UPDATED

24 Jan

Calls for help to a mental health phone line almost doubled over the last year as the economic crisis impacted on people’s lives, it has emerged.

Mental health line calls increase Enlarge photo

St Patrick‘s University Hospital in Dublin revealed its support and information service took 1,400 calls in 2010, compared to 766 a year earlier.

Paul Gilligan, chief executive, said the service is needed now more than ever. “It has at times provided a lifeline for some callers in sincere mental health distress and we expect the demand to increase greatly in 2011,” said Mr Gilligan.

“We are living through particularly difficult times. Adversity and feelings of hopelessness, despair and confusion, which are central to mental health problems are all too present in today’s Ireland. This is why St Patrick’s exists.

“Our purpose is to alleviate hopelessness and our support line exists as a helping hand for those who need it.”

The support and information service is available Monday to Friday on 01 249 3333. People with concerns can also email info@stpatsmail.com.

Staffed by experienced mental health nurses, it gives professional advice, guidance and support for the public, health care professionals and mental health care service users.

The majority of calls last year – 1,093 – were from the general public, 111 were from health care professionals and 177 calls were from St Patrick’s service users. Some 215 were about depression, 191 on addictions, 148 for anxiety and 140 needed ongoing support.

Tom Maher, director of clinical services at St Patrick’s, said staff have noticed a rise in patients with new onset depression who had symptoms directly related to the economic downturn.

“However, in general we feel that more people are starting to talk about their mental health and numbers to our helpline reflect that,” he added.

www.3ts.ie & www.console.ie & www.spunout.ie & www.teenline.ie & www.letsomeoneknow.ie


PEOPLE with intellectual disabilities have been “exiled” to agencies outside of Ireland for the past 30 years and continue to be “ignored” in the provision of mental health services, according to a report.

The damning study — published to coincide with the fifth anniversary of A Vision for Change, a policy document drawn up to reform mental health services in Ireland — concludes the provision of mental health services for people with an intellectual disability (ID) continues to require “immediate prioritisation” by the HSE as it has not been afforded “any discernible concern”.

Excluded, Expelled and Exported: The citizens we’ve ignored and those we’ve exiled, which is published by The College of Psychiatry of Ireland, reveals that over the past 30 years at least €30 million has been spent on placing people in other jurisdictions.

It reveals 55 Irish people with an intellectual disability — some of whom have been in the placements for decades — are in specialist services outside of the state.

Some of those placements cost up to €300,000 annually. The latest figure is an increase of 20 people — or 57% — since A Vision for Change was published.

According to the report, the fact that 75% of the placements are in the North refutes the argument that there is not the critical mass for such specialist service provision here.

Additionally, it is estimated at least 137 more people with intellectual disability require specialist residential services that are not available. The CPsychI maintains this is an “unacceptable and unsustainable” situation.

“As we export people with intellectual disability for placement and treatment, individual people and their families may get a service, but no level of national expertise builds up,” the report states.

“Clearly, it is not rational or humane but rather ad hoc and inequitable and clearly, many people get no service at all.”

The data comes from a HSE freedom of information request, which did not include information on people who had previously been placed out of the state and who had returned during or prior to 2010. Therefore, the costs are likely to be under-estimated.

The data shows that the longest placement outside of Ireland is of a person who has been in the United States since 1981.

The cost of the placements differ dramatically, but the overall annual cost of placing all 55 people who are currently in residential care out of state is €5m.

The annual cost of placement for 20 individuals is less than €50,000.

For a further 20 individuals it is between €50,000 and €100,000.

In six cases the cost is €100,000-€200,000, in seven cases it is €200,000-€300,000 and in one case the annual cost is more than €300,000.

However, as the report’s authors point out, the “export of Irish citizens comes at a considerable financial cost as well as human cost” as placements outside of the state dislodge vulnerable people with an intellectual disability from their families and local communities.

Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/state-exported-55-people-with-intellectual-disabilities-report-says-143063.html#ixzz1BvZf7UJ6


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