FOLLOWING THE tragic passing in recent weeks of a number of individuals in the wider Wexford community, the Health Services Executive (HSE) has moved to reassure people that the implementation of a local suicide prevention plan will be a priority for the body over the next four years.
The plan sees a number of agencies come together to address the needs of the community in relation to suicide, self-harm and mental health in Wexford.
‘Connecting for Life Wexford’ is based on Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide.
It remains the case, however, that no clinical nurse specialist is present out-of-hours at Wexford General Hospital to assess patients presenting to the Emergency Department in self-harm / suicide-related distress and no in-patient psychiatric treatment is available within County Wexford for those in need.
In a statement, the executive urged those experiencing a time of mental distress to make contact with a GP or support service.
‘The HSE would like to reassure people that its mental health services are there to support people in need of help,’ the executive stated.
The Samaritans 24-hour Freephone helpline can be contacted at 116 123, while a 24/7 suicide helpline can also be reached at 1800 247 247 or by texting HELP to 51444.
A farm and rural stress helpline also operates in the South-East on a 24/7 basis and can be contacted at 1800 742 645.
A Suicide Crisis Assessment Nursing (SCAN) Service is in place across County Wexford to provide a speedy response service for GPs concerned by a patient’s risk of self-harm / suicide.
A SCAN nurse will see and assess a patient within their own GP surgery within one-to-two days.
After assessment, the SCAN nurse, the GP and the patient (and friends / family members where granted) agree a collaborative care plan to the meet the needs of patients and address their risks.
Such plans often involve counselling, health supervision and / or medication.
Where risk / needs indicate such a response is warranted, SCAN nurses have access to a duty psychiatrist to help accelerate a psychiatrist’s out-patient review or admission to psychiatric in-patient services.
A Clinical Nurse Specialist is on duty from 9am to 5pm, seven days per week, at Wexford General Hospital, as part of a mental health liaison service.
The duty nurse undertakes to assess all adult patients who present to the Emergency Department in suicide / self-harm distress and seeks to address their needs and safety.
A movement has arisen to press for such services to be made available out-of-hours so that people in County Wexford can have equal access to treatment at any time in which they need help.
Read more in the Wexford Echo.