Limerick hospital sent suicidal man home “with list of phone numbers”

Limerick mental health campaigner Brian Hayes

A LIMERICK father-of-two who was sent to the emergency department in a suicidal state is now campaigning for better emergency mental health services after he was discharged with just a list of contact numbers.

“I was sent by ambulance to the hospital in a suicidal frame of mind and I left angry,” Brian Hayes told the Limerick Post.

In a Facebook video recorded after discharge, the 33-year-old St Mary’s Park resident outlined how his life has been plagued by alcohol, leading him to a terrifying time recently when he was convinced the only way out was to take his own life.

“On Monday, February 7, I drove the car to the Treaty Stone. I just cracked. I was crying and crying – I couldn’t stop,” he told the Limerick Post.

Knowing that he was in a very dangerous place, Brian rang several doctors’ numbers and eventually got through to a GP who agreed to see him even though it was outside hours. The doctor rang an ambulance to take him to the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick.

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But when he was finally seen, Brian said: “The nurse asked me if I was suicidal. I told him that I was suicidal three hours before that but not at the time he asked me.

“He discharged me with a list of numbers. I really felt I hadn’t been helped at all. I thought there would be some procedure where I could be sent somewhere to deal with what had happened,” he said.

After posting his experience on Facebook, Brian said he “got a mountain of responses from young lads of fifteen and sixteen who said they are depressed. What’s going to become of them?

“Giving people who are depressed or addicted to drugs a list of numbers to ring is useless. People who are addicted or depressed often can’t get it together to make phone calls and wait for appointments weeks and months down the road.

“Having to wait a week would be one thing but if someone lands out in the hospital in the state I was in, there should be some procedure that they are sent straight away to a rehab centre or somewhere they will be taken in and helped. The mental health system is a disgrace and it needs to be fixed. I’m speaking out because I want to highlight this,” he said.