Sharing the Vision - A Mental Health Policy for Everyone, stipulates that individuals with co-existing mental health difficulties and addiction to either alcohol or drugs should not be prevented from accessing mental health services. Consequently, it will not be necessary to establish whether a mental health difficulty is ‘primary’ for an individual to access the support of a mental health team. A shared case management approach may be required for particularly complex patients.
On this basis, the policy recommends that a tiered model of integrated service provision for individuals with a dual diagnosis (e.g. substance misuse with mental illness) be developed to ensure that pathways to care are clear.
With regards to service provision by NGOs, the policy recognises that the voluntary and community sector organisations are key partners in the design and development of HSE mental health services at national and local level, as well as referral partners for primary mental healthcare. Their services extend to therapeutic and other recovery supports for individuals and families, carers and supporters and can, therefore, help to reduce the use of inappropriate referrals to specialist mental health services.
The policy recommends that where Voluntary and Community sector organisations are providing services aligned to the outcomes in this policy, operational governance and funding models should be secure and sustainable. In addition, the policy also contains recommendations to ensure more integrated linkages between HSE mental health services and the Voluntary and Community sector.
I have agreed to meet a number of mental health groups in Tipperary in August. The details of this are being finalised between my Office and relevant local representatives.