All people experience mental distress at times in their lives. Fortunately, for most this is short lived and does not require anything other than the support of family and friends and the passage of time to resolve. However, if you are concerned that a relative or friend is experiencing persistent and disabling mental distress you should advise them to talk to their GP who will be able to advise and guide them towards the right type of help. Most mental health problems are managed very well in primary care and there are many helpful support groups and counselling/psychology services available in the community.
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If the person’s GP feels that their mental health difficulties require more specialised or intensive input than can be provided at primary care level they may refer them to a secondary mental health service such as Cluain Mhuire. In an emergency, if a GP cannot be accessed, your relative or friend can attend the local Emergency Department where a mental health assessment can be arranged.
The Cluain Mhuire Service is a publicly funded, community based, adult mental health service, providing assessment, treatment and care planning for people aged between 18 and 65 who reside permanently within the designated catchment area. The Cluain Mhuire Service aims to facilitate recovery from mental health difficulties in the community rather than in hospital and as such it provides a wide variety of community based services and treatments across a number of centres.
When a referral is received in Cluain Mhuire it will be discussed by the team on duty. Before an assessment is arranged, additional information may be sought from the person who has been referred, from their GP or, with their permission, from other services they may have attended in the past. Occasionally, rather than arrange an assessment, advice will be provided to the person’s GP regarding appropriate treatment and they will then continue to assist the person and may re-refer to Cluain Mhuire in the future depending on progress. An assessment appointment will be arranged, usually within a few days or weeks depending on the level of urgency. The initial assessment may be with any of the multidisciplinary team; a psychiatrist, a community mental health nurse, a psychologist, a mental health social worker or a mental health occupational therapist. The person who has been referred can bring somebody with them to the initial appointment for support and in order to provide another perspective on their difficulties.
Following the initial assessment, the person’s situation will be discussed by the multidisciplinary team (see above link). They may be given advice about managing their mental health, information about helpful services in the community and advised to follow up with their GP who could re-refer them in the future if the need arose. A follow up appointment may also be made to check on their progress. The person’s GP will always receive a detailed report of the assessment (the person who was referred can also receive a written summary of the assessment if they wish).
Alternatively, following the initial assessment, the person may be referred for further specialist treatment within the Cluain Mhuire Service.