An independent inquiry into mental health crisis services in the Mid-West has been sought by Clare members of Sinn Féin and the Haven Hubs.

Figures compiled by the National Suicide Research Foundation for the years 2014 to 2016 found that per 100,000 of population, Clare had a high suicide rate of 15.7 with Limerick recording a figure of 23.7 which was the most in the Republic of Ireland. Male suicides in Co Clare were among the highest in the country for the same time period.

“Serious focus and investment” into mental health services has been lacking for many years, Clare TD Violet-Anne Wynne (SF) stated. “The vision for change of strategy is now 14 years old and is far from implemented. This fact is shameful. Any new government must prioritise real mental health reform that improves access to services and commits to a 24/7 community service which has been called for”.

Shannon native Gary Fitzgibbon who has spoken to The Clare Echo about his negative experiences of dealing with mental health services extended his support to the calls for an inquiry,

“It is evidently clear that our system is regularly failing some of the most vulnerable in our community. In particular, we urgently need to address the fact the substance use/abuse is commonplace among a high number of people who find themselves in suicidal crisis. It is not acceptable that an intoxicated person cannot access treatment, we must start to think outside the box and deliver a system that will keep these people safe until they can be treated,” the Sinn Féin member outlined.

Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) referenced protests organised by the party to highlight the failings when it comes to the provision of mental health services. “For too long the Midwest has suffered from a lack of Mental Health services and these recent figures back that up. It is time now for the Midwest to have the services that are so badly needed for our most vulnerable in our communities”.

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