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Additional psychiatric support for vulnerable families and individuals in Co Clare is needed to assist their ability to cope with “unmanageable pressure”.

An appeal for the HSE to put in place increased community psychiatric support for vulnerable families and individuals during the pandemic was issued by Cllr Susan Crawford (GP) at a meeting of the Regional Health Forum West.

“Several Carers, families, vulnerable adults and professionals have contacted me to say they are under unmanageable pressure currently,” the Inagh native outlined.

Chief Officer with Mid West Community Healthcare, Maria Bridgeman insisted new and existing service users have been accommodated throughout all phases of the pandemic through the Mid West Mental Health Service. “The referral pathway to Mental Health Services remains the same with access through the GP. Emergency appointments are available for existing Service Users through their Community Mental Health Team,” she stated.

A local helpline for staff was set up last year with a staff welfare forum initiated by Mid-West Mental Health Services to engage with staff on their needs during the pandemic, Bridgeman added. “Psychosocial support training was provided through HSE Psychology services during the pandemic to facilitate line managers to support their staff”.

Cllr Crawford acknowledged the existing supports and reiterated that she was pleading for additional psychiatric supports for carers and families “under enormous pressure”. She commented, “Staff would tell me that they are not able to get support currently”.

Support for staff remains available, Bridgeman responded. She expressed her willingness to take names from Cllr Crawford to refer them to available services.

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