Gap in the provision of mental health services
Dear Sir, – Proposed changes to mental health legislation have been the subject of considerable debate in your pages over the past few weeks. A critical issue that has not been addressed in commentary to date is the important role of interventions that minimize the need for hospital and involuntary care in the first place. The experience of acute psychosis is the most common trigger for involuntary admission to hospital care under the provisions of the current Mental Health Act (2001).
A systematic review just published in The Lancet has once again established the importance of family psychoeducation as a highly effective intervention to reduce the risk of relapse into psychosis.
From 2010, the HSE has been at the forefront of innovative practice in the field of psychoeducation, as an active partner in the Eolas project (a consortium of peers, clinicians and agencies working in the field of mental health) in the development of comprehensive information and learning programs for people with direct experience of psychosis, as well as for their families and carers. Eolas programs have proven to be highly effective in meeting the information and support needs of participants across the country, as evidenced by an extensive series of peer-reviewed evaluation reports published by researchers from the faculties of nursing and in Midwifery and Psychology from Trinity College. Dublin.
Much to the dismay of consumers and families across the country, the HSE has inexplicably withdrawn funding from Eolas programs over the past three years, leaving a vital void in service delivery to consumers and families and increasing the risk of relapse of psychosis and possibly the need for involuntary care. During this period, the HSE has not offered high quality, comprehensive and evidence-based alternative programs to meet these needs, and in fact the only action taken by the HSE has been to recently publish a tender for the completion of a new literature review on the subject. As this is only a first step, it appears that the HSE intends to waste more time, effort and public funds on a laborious and time-consuming process of ‘reinventing the wheel’, at instead of continuing to provide existing services. programs that have already proven so effective. Is it too much to expect from HSE accountability and transparency in relation to these mystifying decisions, which have already had such a negative impact on a vulnerable group in our community who, even in 2022, struggle to have their voices heard and meet support needs? – Yours, etc.,
Dr PATRICK GIBBONS,
Eolas steering committee,
Celbridge Health Center,
FINN VAN GELDEREN,
Member of the family
Professor AGNES HIGGINS,
Eolas Research Officer.