Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Ceisteanna (85)

Mick Wallace


85. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Health his plans to increase the use of talk therapies as part of mental health care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5379/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Psychology services, along with psychotherapy and related talk therapies can play an important role in assisting those presenting with mental health issues, and can work alongside medical intervention, or in some cases can help people to deal with issues without the requirement for medication.

The HSE provides a comprehensive range of community-based mental health services. It is committed to the provision of a person-centred approach to the care for each patient. It provides evidence based psychological interventions that are delivered through Primary Care and where necessary through specialist mental health services. Interventions are tailored to each patient’s individual needs and a wide range of talking therapies and interventions in both CAMHS and adult mental health services including specialist cognitive behavioural therapy, behavioural family therapy and dialectical behavioural therapy.

The HSE provides talk therapies at primary care level, including Counselling in Primary Care, the National Counselling Service, and primary care psychology services. These services have been enhanced recently through the recruitment of assistant psychologists in primary care. The HSE also employs counsellors/ therapists/ psychologists in primary care addiction services. In addition to HSE services, other agencies are also funded by the HSE to provide talking therapies including Jigsaw, MyMind, Turn2Me and Pieta House.

In order to ensure greater consistency and equity of access to talk therapies, HSE Mental Health commenced a service improvement project in January 2018 with a view to developing a Model of Care for adults who access talk therapies while attending specialist mental health services. While the project focuses specifically on adults attending specialist mental health services, it will also reference other services where talk therapies are currently provided from HSE funding.

Building on a stepped care approach, the Model of Care is expected to involve an assessment of the need for talking therapies taking into account stakeholder perspectives and the prevalence of mental health disorders within the adult population. It will consider evidence-based talking therapies best-suited to meet the identified needs, and outline a recommended operational model for talking therapies provided by General Adult Community Mental Health Teams.

In addition, Minister Daly has prioritised the introduction of new digital talk therapies and has agreed various pilot projects with the HSE. Online counselling, crisis text services and pilot tele-psychiatric services will provide additional services to a wider target audience. Should the pilot projects be evaluated positively, a national roll out will support many more individuals access talk therapies online.