Concern has been expressed by some, including in correspondence to me, that there has been, and is likely to continue to be, an increase in mental health issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, including in suicide, suicidal ideation and self-harm.
Agencies have indicated significant increases in contacts for online services. At the same time, however, some mental health services have noted that patients have been remarkably resilient during the crisis and are managing their mental health illness, in spite of the pandemic and its restrictions. However, the Department and HSE are continually monitoring service provision to direct resources as required. €2.2 million has been allocated for a mental health promotion and well-being campaign, through enhanced online supports, and to support the HSE psychosocial strategy. This will enable implementation of integrated tele-health solutions and improve existing online interventions.
It is important that we continue to build resilience in all communities to reduce the incidence of suicide and self-harm. It is also important to ensure that, where such a tragedy occurs, we have sufficient supports in place to help those who need it.
The HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) in tasked with implementing Connecting for Life Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide. NOSP works closely with CHOs, local agencies and communities to deliver strategies and services in the most appropriate manner, in line with resource availability and evolving service requirements.
I am also referring this PQ to the HSE to ensure a comprehensive reply to the Deputy.