'If I knew then what I know now, I would have saved a lot of headaches and a lot of heart aches. I just didn’t know where to get help for my son…I was clutching at straws for anyone that could help.’(Carol, mother and carer)
When should I advise somebody go for help?
It can be difficult to know when you should be encouraging someone you're close to go for help for a mental health problem. If you are worried it is usually a good idea to talk to them about your concerns. See getting help for the first time for some general advice on when a person might consider going for help.
- Talking very directly with the person about your observations and concerns can be a very positive step.
- Listen carefully to the responses without being judgmental or offering solutions.
- After you hear them out, make your decision about how serious you think the problem is and whether you need to go further in your search to get help.
Many cases can be resolved at this step. Knowing that you are aware of the struggle they are having, that you are willing to listen with an open mind, and that you are there to help if they need it, may go a long way to work through the frustration and dismay they may feel. They may feel such relief that you noticed and have taken the time to ask them about it that the problem will simply resolve itself by talking it out with you.
If you are unsure talk to your GP or your local mental health service for advice.
What should I do if I’m worried about someone close to me?
- If they are already linked with the service, contact a member of the mental health service, request an earlier appointment, request contact/ visit from the assigned Community Mental Health Nurse. They will provide advice and support relevant to your current situation.
- If they are not linked with our services already, contact your GP, encourage the person to attend or bring them to their GP, or to the Emergency Department. Find a GP in your area
- National Office for Suicide Prevention gives options for help both within and outside our Community Mental Health Service.
- If you feel you are in any way at risk from the person (or, on rare occasions have been assaulted or threatened), do not hesitate to contact An Garda Siochana.
What if I'm worried about somebody close to me, but they are unwilling to consider getting help?
- It is usually better that the person goes for help themselves. In the short term this can be hard to tolerate, but acknowledging that help is necessary, and going voluntarily for help, is an important part of the process of recovery.
- This does not mean that you should not continue to communicate your concerns and keep an open dialogue.
- In this situation, if you are very close to the person or are living with them it is important to ensure that you don't neglect yourself and that you mind you own mental health and continue to make use of your own network of supports and activities.
What if I believe the person is in real danger?
- In certain circumstances, where a real danger to the person (or others) exists, and it is considered in the best interest of the person that they are admitted to hospital, and they won't go voluntarily, the Mental Health Act can be used to detain and treat a person without their consent.
- There are limited circumstances in which this can be used and very clear procedures that must be followed.
- Read further information and guidance on this process provided by the Mental Health Commission. If this is used, the person living in our catchment will most likely be brought to Tallaght or St James's Hospital depending on where they live.
- Involuntary Admission is considered a last resource. The service will make every effort to avoid involuntarily detaining anybody. However, if it is warranted we will try to minimise distress to everybody involved and will try to ensure the involuntary admission is for the shortest duration possible.
- If there is some reason it is impossible for a relative or friend to be an applicant, there are certain members of staff who are Authorised Officers. They can make an application for involuntary admission.
What happens following admission to St James's Hospital
What happens following admission to Tallaght Hospital