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KHealth, the mental health provider, is calling for more mental health professionals to be trained to cope with the growing demand for mental health care in rural Ireland.
It has asked for an additional 10 mental health specialists to be recruited from the wider healthcare system.
Its deputy chief executive, Cathal Kelly, said the organisation is not alone in the country’s mental health sector.
“In the last three years, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of people who are seeking mental health services in rural areas, which means that we need more trained mental health practitioners in order to address this increase,” she said.KHealth’s proposal comes as it launches its ‘health insurance’ section in a bid to meet rising demand for care and to reduce its cost.
Khealth, which provides care to more than 80,000 people in Ireland, said it was now asking for additional mental health experts to be available in the area, and is also asking for the introduction of a 24-hour mental health line.
“There’s an increasing demand for help, and this is something that we’re keen to explore as a result of the recent funding announcements, as well as the new Government’s proposals for mental healthcare,” said Ms Kelly.KHN Ireland’s mental healthcare director, Dr Brian Ryan said the number and quality of mental healthcare services had increased dramatically over the past few years.
“We’ve had a significant reduction in the numbers of people being treated for mental illness in the past 12 months, and now there’s an increase in demand for support services,” he said.
“The increasing demand we see for support from our patients and the increased demand from our community for mental care services means we’ve now expanded our mental health service to cover a wider range of people.”KHealth said it would also be asking for a greater number of mental doctors to be appointed, including for the mental sector, as it seeks to better cope with increasing demand.
It said its new ‘health’ section would offer support for those who require it most, including those who are unable to access health services, those who need mental health support but are unable for financial reasons, and people who need help in finding their way home from mental health and/or substance abuse treatment.
“Our ‘health care’ section is a platform for people to find out more about their mental health needs and what their options are in terms of healthcare, support and other support services, and to get involved with the mental healthcare sector,” it said.
It also wants more support for mental and substance abuse counsellors, and for mental doctors, nurses and social workers to be in rural communities.
“This includes providing support to the many people who do not have access to the health and mental healthcare system, as a resource for them,” it added.
“As well as providing support and information to people who have been through the mental care system, we also want to ensure that there are more people available to work in rural and remote areas, as part of a community-based approach.”
In the run-up to the 2020 general election, Sinn Féin called for the Government to “increase the number” of mental wellbeing professionals in the Northern Ireland health service.
“I think it’s a fantastic idea and a great opportunity for rural communities,” Sinn Fés deputy leader and health spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald said.
She added that there is a need for more people to get professional training in the areas where they work.
“It’s about building a network of people with mental health issues in rural health and in rural work, and that’s why the Minister has come out with the idea of a Mental Health Officer in rural healthcare,” she added.KMHC has been criticised for failing to provide mental health training for staff.KMH said the mental wellbeing section would help provide training in areas of care for people who may not otherwise be able to access the same level of support, as there is no training available for the rural community.”KMH has been an active participant in the mental wellness sector and has worked with some of the leading mental health organisations and has developed training materials that are available in our rural mental health clinic and our mental wellbeing clinic,” it explained.
“Training is also offered to the rural healthcare workforce as well, which will allow us to provide more training to local health workers and staff in the rural health service, which is a key part of our work.”KMH and KMH Ireland said the expansion of its mental health programme in rural parts of the country was important, as people are struggling with mental illness and it was important to have the support of mental Health Professionals to get them through their mental wellbeing.
“While KMH does not have a direct relationship with the rural mental healthcare workforce, it is providing mental health advice and training in a variety of areas in the region,” it stated.
“Mental Health Professionons provide a range of training in their area to help rural
KHealth, the mental health provider, is calling for more mental health professionals to be trained to cope with the growing…