For the Government to ring-fence funding of €37.5m annually and to put emphasis on local 24/7 crisis intervention services.

USI calls on the Government to produce a detailed, time-lined action plan to continue the reform of mental health supports improving the mental health of the whole population in line with A Vision for Change (2006), Healthy Ireland Framework (2013) and Connecting for Life (2015). This will require adequate funding, structures for good governance and oversight in place. The implementation of a 24/7-intervention service within our health service and local communities is important, and should be a priority alongside annual ring fenced funding from Budget 2018.

The suicide prevention framework Connecting for Life (2013) has made a commitment to running out a national quality assured and co-ordinated 24/7 service for individuals in need of mental health care. Currently individuals are forced to use Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments in hospitals as an intervention service with staff and professionals not being adequately trained to respond and support someone in mental or emotional distress. A decade after A Vision for Change (2006), the recommendations to provide community based services, crisis homes and intervention support services are not available. Supports should be available on a 24/7 basis and should include the capacity to respond in a multidisciplinary way. It is proposed that there should be a ‘crisis house’ within each catchment area, offering brief accommodation to service users who need a safe place to recover their bearings and work with the Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT) (multi-agency teams consisting of different mental health professionals such as community mental health nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, support time recovery workers, administration workers, psychiatrists and psychologists) to evolve a care plan that will address the key factors that have precipitated a crisis ultimately forcing individuals and students to an A&E.

USI supporting Mental Health Reform’s call for 24/7 support with mental health services

The environment of an A&E mixed with lack of present expertise surrounding mental and emotional health is severely damaging for students and anyone in distress. With almost 11,126 cases involving 8,708 individuals presenting to services in 2014 due to self-harm and with 487 confirmed suicides in 2013 (and provisional figures of 451 suicides in 2015 (CSO)) ring-fenced funding towards services and community developments must be considered in Budget 2018. From the EU Youth Report (2015), Ireland is ranked within the top 4 for suicide rate among 15-24. This further confirms with CSO figures on suicides in 2013 by comparing the suicide rate of 14.4 per 100,000 to the UK at 7.6 per 100,000 . USI with Mental Health Reform, propose the Government invest in mental health supports and services to allow them to adequately develop.