Updated: 13/11/17 : 11:44:14
A new national telephone helpline for people wanting to access mental health services is to get the green light by Government. Sligo - Leitrim TD and member of the Joint Oireachtas Mental Health Committee, Tony McLoughlin welcomed the development as a small step towards helping to provide better services for mental health in this country.
McLoughlin stated that “since taking up my position on this Committee, I have been highlighting to the Minister for State with responsibility for Mental Health, Jim Daly, the need for a tangible telephone resource that will not only benefit people today but also those in the future, and I am delighted to see that plans are now in place to make this happen.
“Taking from the example of the 999 services, where someone can call a well know telephone number and get the right help they need, The Minister has advised me that he wanted to bring that same approach towards Mental Health. What he is proposing is that we establish a national number for people to be seamlessly transferred to the service that is most appropriate for them.
“He feels that it is important that we use a number that is short and easy to remember, a number that in time people will recognise just as clearly as 999. When people need help for themselves or indeed for another, they don't need to think about where to go, they will know the number in their head.
“The importance of a universal number means that people don’t need a smart phone or even a mobile phone. They don’t need to download an app or visit a website, they can simply text or dial a short number and connect with someone who can get them to the right service that they need.”
McLoughlin concluded by stating that that he expects the new national helpline to be up and running in 2018”.