Pilot mental health programme for Limerick addicts

Mick Lacey, chair of the Mid West Regional Drugs and Alcohol Forum

A PILOT project, aimed at helping people who are struggling with drug addiction as well as mental health issues is to roll out in Limerick and the Mid West before the end of the year.

The need for such a programme was established by research 15 years ago.

The HSE said it has identified a clear need for such a programme, which has been mooted since 2007.

Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary have been identified as the catchment area for the pilot phase.

“We can confirm that posts are approved for the first pilot site, based in the Mid West Community Healthcare (CHO3) and negotiations are ongoing for the second pilot site,” a HSE statement said.

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It said the programme “will be of significant benefit” to individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use problems. Dual diagnosis needs have been highlighted in HSE reports and national drug strategies going back to 2007, including the 2012 National Substance Misuse Strategy.

“It is expected that the recruitment for the CHO3 pilot will be completed by the end of 2022,” the statement said.

It said this development came from the Dual Diagnosis Clinical Programme working group, which was finalising a model of care. The multi-agency group is under the corporate and clinical governance of the Mental Health Division.

“We recognise this as an extremely important development for which there is a clear need,” the HSE said.

Mick Lacey, chair of the Mid West Regional Drugs and Alcohol Forum, said in a comment to the Irish Eaminer: “There is an absolute need for this. The HSE needs to run this out as soon as possible.

“I would say the bulk of people with addiction have underlying mental health problems.

He said parents were “running around from one service to another” seeking help for their son or daughter. He said: “They are told if they have a drug problem, they need to sort that out first before the mental health service will take them.”