Seanad debates

Thursday, 1 March 2012

1:00 pm

Photo of Michael MullinsMichael Mullins (Fine Gael)

I also welcome the Minister of State to the House. I wish to raise an issue on behalf of the Irish Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, which is located in Colliga House in County Wicklow. This is a European award winning centre that provides a range of services and specialises in the area of suicide prevention in particular. We all know the importance of that area, given the high levels of suicide, especially among young people, in this country.

The institute was informed in 2006 by the HSE that approval had been received from the strategic policy and reform implementation unit for the provision of €25,000 in funding, with funding of €50,000 agreed for 2007. The letter stated that this national funding would support the work of the institute, was intended to cover set-up costs, and would be made through the local health manager who would link with the institute on behalf of the HSE nationally. The letter also stated that formal allocation would be issued soon, and that the person from the HSE named in the letter would be in a position to put in place a service level agreement for the national funding at that stage. Unfortunately, this never happened and I would like to know why not. I also request, even at this late stage, that a service level agreement be put in place with the institute for its suicide prevention centre.

In 2011, the unit in County Wicklow intervened with 2,000 individuals. It provides an early intervention service for individuals in the areas of suicide prevention, self harm, violence, addiction, mental health issues, domestic violence and autism in children. The IINM provides outreach suicide prevention programmes to deprived and marginalised members of the community in Ireland. In 2010, it was the overall winner of the ICNM European award for integrated medicine for suicide prevention. Its aim is to meet the objectives of the Government's mental health policy for best outcomes for all of our citizens, as well as the reduction in the rate of death from suicide, hospitalisation, violence and dependency on welfare. The focus of the programme is on intervention for prevention and treatment of self-aggressive disorders. All referrals are done through a GP or a psychiatrist.

As I mentioned earlier, the institute was approved for funding by the strategic policy and reform implementation unit of the HSE. I ask that it be given State support to carry on the excellent work that it has been doing to date. I have had very strong representations from many people who have a deep interest in suicide prevention in particular. From what I have been told, the method of treatment provided by the institute is highly effective and reputable, and I am very anxious that it be considered for State assistance to carry on its very important work, especially with the significant number of people who have had suicidal tendencies or who have self harmed in the past. I ask the Minister of State to have a look at this, and I also hope to meet the Minister of State with responsibility for mental health services, Deputy Lynch, on this issue in the near future.


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