Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
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Roadmap urged for 24/7 crisis mental health services

Mental Health Reform calls on Minister for Mental Health to publish blueprint

Mental Health Reform, the national coalition on mental health, has called for Minister of State, Jim Daly, to publish a roadmap for 24/7 crisis mental health services. Last February, the then Minister of State Helen McEntee, TD promised a roadmap for improved out of hours access to mental health services, but after nine months no roadmap has been published.

Minister of State Daly is planning a national mental health helpline. "While a single information line would provide welcome coordination of existing crisis listening services, it won’t address the very real gap in direct access to specialist mental health services outside of office hours," said Mental Health Reform Director, Shari McDaid. Many people who experience a mental health crisis outside the hours of Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm, cannot get direct access to local mental health services when they need it. Instead, people in crisis must wait for hours in busy A&E Departments to get the help they need.

Mental Health Reform has highlighted the urgent need for 24/7 crisis mental health services in every community across Ireland. The #InOurHourOfNeed campaign has already gathered over 12,000 signatures demanding urgent implementation of 24/7 services. "The Government can make an immediate improvement by implementing 7-day-a-week direct access mental health clinics, supported by around the clock telephone support in every community across Ireland. This is an efficient and effective way of responding to someone with a mental health need in the local community, and could be rolled out within one year. Our 62 member organisations see the urgent need for these services to be put in place which is why they have supported this campaign. We need a resourced implementation plan from the HSE immediately that sets out the current provision across the country and the steps to full availability of 24/7 services in every community,” Dr McDaid said.

 

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Timeframe for statutory registration

 

Draft regulations to designate the professions of Counsellors and Psychotherapists and to establish a registration board will be ready for submission to the Houses of the Oireachtas for their approval during the present session, the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has told the Dail.

 

The Minister recently concluded a public consultation on  his proposal to regulate counsellors generally under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005.

 

On foot of the consultation process, He has decided to proceed with the designation of two distinct professions under the Act, that of counsellor and psychotherapist. Each will have its own register under one registration board. This decision has been communicated to the Health and Social Care Professionals Council, the relevant professional bodies and all the respondents to the public consultation process.

 

Subject to the approval of the Houses, the next step will be the appointment of the 13 members of the registration board, following the submission of suitable candidates for the Minister's consideration, by the Public Appointments Service. The aim is that the registration board will be in a position early in the New Year to begin the task of drafting the various bye-laws to allow it to establish its registers.

 

 


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