HSE Media Release: 23rd October, 2020

On 23rd of October Minster Butler the Minister of State for the Department of Health, with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People launched the Sligo Leitrim Mental Health Service Early Intervention in Psychosis Service.  

Speaking at the virtual launch the Minister stated “We find ourselves living in testing times, when needs are increasing and resources are under pressure, because of Covid and also because of the nature of modern life. In my role as Minister for State with responsibility for mental health, I am wholly committed to enhancing Ireland’s mental health system so that people can get the support that they need, when they need it. I was delighted to recently announce that as part of the Budget 2021 package, an additional 50M will be allocated to mental health next year, a portion of which will be dedicated to the development of the clinical care programme on early intervention in psychosis. Today’s launch of the early intervention hub in Sligo is an essential support for those who are experiencing a first episode, or increasing episodes of psychosis in the region. It is a significant step forward for the people of the northwest, and I congratulate everyone involved.

SLMHS started to develop a local Early Intervention in Psychosis Service around 2014 following the HSE National Clinical Program for EIP whose aim was to improve quality and safety, have rapid access to services and provide evidence based interventions and cost effectiveness.

The HSE (EIP), Model of Care was launched in May 2019 with the aim of improving services for people who develop psychosis or are identified at high risk of psychoses by providing early access to expert assessments and a range of holistic and evidence based interventions.

Following SLMHS becoming a National Demonstration Site for implementing the new Model of Care for EIP we have been building a Multidisciplinary team providing these early psychosocial interventions with the aim of having a key worker assigned to each person with psychosis and their families providing person centred, assertive, recovery oriented care.

The EIP team works in partnership with Service Reform, Hearing Voices Network and EOLAS psycho educational support program to enrich the overall experience of service users and their families.

The EIP programme is an ‘invest to save’ programme. Investment in the initial development of these services is required. This then results in considerable savings to the health service and wider economy by reducing relapses, reducing the need for hospitalisations and reducing crisis presentations to emergency departments.

Speaking at the launch Dr O’ Neill Consultant psychiatrist and Clinical Lead of EIP services in Sligo/ Leitrim stated “Offering early psychosocial interventions as soon as possible to people experiencing psychotic symptoms for the first time (especially in late teens and early twenties) can support each person in their path to recovery and lead to a better quality of life, improved outcomes, reduced relapses, reduced suicide rates and an increased retention in education and work”.

Services user who utilised the services commented “I am glad that I was seen quickly by the mental health services and I believe it was a key factor in my recovery. If my condition kept worsening without any treatment, the long-term consequences could have been fatal”.  A family members stated “The most amazing thing for our family was how this awareness and change of behaviour helped so positively. Instead of a spiral downwards it became a spiral up to normality, even if there is still a long way to go".

Early intervention in Psychosis take the form of psychological interventions such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Family interventions such as Behavioural Family Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy.  Social, occupational and educational intervention through Individual Placement Support and Occupational Therapy. Physical health monitoring, lifestyle interventions and medication.

Last updated on: 23 / 10 / 2020