Sinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has called for the establishment of a multi-agency mental health crisis de-escalation team in Waterford.
“I am calling on the Government to establish a mental health crisis de-escalation team for Waterford. Such a team would involve mental health professionals and specially trained members of the Gardaí. The idea is that if there is a person experiencing a mental health crisis in our community then this specially trained team will meet the person, triage them, treat them and refer or bring them to the appropriate service.
“As things stand, families have few good options for protecting a loved one who is experiencing an acute mental health crisis. Those responding, whether Gardaí or Emergency Department staff, are not always trained or equipped to provide crisis interventions or to de-escalate situations where a person might be a risk to themselves.
“This proposal is a core component of the Sinn Féin motion on emergent responses to the mental health crisis that was passed in Dáil Éireann in April, and a similar scheme is already up -and-running in the North.
“The Department of Justice has confirmed that a pilot scheme is due to begin in Limerick next year – seemingly without the knowledge or involvement of the Minister for Mental Health Mary Butler. The Government needs to work on communications between Departments, particularly when it comes to multi-agency cooperation on a topic as important as this.
“While it is welcome that some movement has begun on this proposal, a pilot in one county is not enough. These teams need to be rolled out across the state immediately. I am calling on the Government to ensure that Waterford is not left behind.”