College of psychiatrists concerned that people in acute mental distress will not seek help due to media reports about the cost of accessing services
Press Statement: 13th December 2016
The College of Psychiatrists is concerned that some quotations in the papers yesterday and subsequent online and broadcast coverage of same, attributed to Mrs Majella O’Donnell, give a misleading impression to people with mental health problems about mental health services and may deter those in extreme mental distress from seeking support and help.
Public Mental Health Services, both hospital and community based, are free at the point of delivery (including ED departments with a GP referral) and in general people in acute mental distress will be seen as a matter of urgency.
Although the College is advocating for increased resources for mental health services nationally (see pre budget submission and pre-election manifesto which highlights 5 priority areas) it believes the combination of supports in Primary Care and Mental Health Services mean people presenting in acute distress will in general receive support in a timely fashion.
Director of Communication and Public Education (and President elect) for the College, Dr John Hillery stresses:
While it is good to keep the highlight on improvements badly needed in some areas of mental health services it is important the general public having read coverage of some of the points attributed to Mrs O’Donnell will not be put off looking for help when it is needed.
There is more to do to bring our mental health services and supports up to the standard and availability as espoused in ‘A Vision for Change’ but there are supports and help without cost in the public mental health services around the country despite this.”