Minister Butler Officially Opens Blackwater House & launches SCAN Service

2 December 2022

HSE Media Release

Community Healthcare Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, Sligo

Minister Butler Officially Opens Blackwater House & launches SCAN Service

On 2nd of December 2022, Mary Butler T.D., Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People officially opened Blackwater House, (Continuing Care Unit). Blackwater House is situated in Davnet’s Complex, Rooskey, Monaghan a 16 bedded unit.  It provides services to people, over 65 years of age, who have challenging behaviour in the context of a mental illness e.g. dementia.

Minister Butler stated “I am delighted to be here today to officially open this approved centre.  It is excellent example of holistic approach to mental health service provision as it supports and promotes an integrated multidisciplinary approach to addressing the biological, psychological and social factors that contribute to mental health problems through a person-centred treatment approach which address the individual needs of service users. The Government’s funding of vital initiatives, such as this, demonstrates our ongoing commitment to providing high-quality mental health services and supports, in line with our national mental health strategy, Sharing the Vision.”

Blackwater House was formerly a long-stay unit for Elderly Care but has now been repurposed and extended to meet the needs of Psychiatry of Old Age.  It was completed ahead of schedule in Q1 2020 and is now fully operational. Works were accelerated in order to provide single-room accommodation for the residents who were residing in multi-occupancy rooms during the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic. Thereby ensuring the safety and best interests of residents in accordance with Public Health and Infection Control guidance.

The new build is designed as two 8 bedroom bungalows, each with a sluice room, living room/kitchenette and quiet/spiritual room.  They are connected by a shared services corridor including clinic room, consultation room, Nursing station, offices, snoezelen room and visitor’s room. The resident’s bedrooms overlook, and the living areas open out onto, three spacious gardens.   The project cost was approx. €6m.

St Davnet’s historical church and chapel is beside and can be viewed from the new build. The new build is attached to the former Oriel house building and connected by a spacious enclosed wandering loop which is to be developed to provide communal day and therapeutic services.

According to Padraig O’ Beirne, Area Director of Nursing Cavan Monaghan Mental Health Services “A special thanks to all who contributed, to ensure the completion of this project. The accelerated opening of the facility could not have happened without the commitment and dedication of the management and staff of Blackwater House, the wider multidisciplinary team and our estate's colleagues and volunteers from the wider community.”

He added “It is important also to acknowledge and thank all those community Volunteers who supported our residents with move including Monaghan Harps GAA club, Monaghan Co Council/Monaghan Fire service and other individuals for their assistance. This, move to the new building ahead of schedule showed how the true commitment by the Cavan Monaghan Mental Health staff and the community spirit that exists in Monaghan town could bring this project to fruition and ultimately enhance the lives of the residents of the new Blackwater house building.”

The launch of Cavan Monaghan Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurse’s (SCAN) service also took place today at Blackwater House.  SCAN services are being rolled out nationally as part of the National Clinical Programme in Mental Health. A significant proportion of suicides are believed to occur through impulsive acts. In recent years there has been a growing emphasis upon the need to improve links between Mental Health Services and Primary Care Providers, with government strategy mindful of the need to create integrated, interdisciplinary, high quality, team based services, which provide enhanced capacity to primary care in early diagnosis, intervention and treatment. 

Speaking at the launch Padraig O Beirne, Area Director of Nursing Cavan Monaghan Mental Health Services stated “We have recruited two Clinical Nurse Specialists, one for Cavan and one for Monaghan who will operate and deliver this service.  They will work with GP’s to provide rapid assessment for people presenting with self-harm or suicidal thoughts to general practice. This will also provide a process for access to the Adult and Old Age Community Mental Health Teams for those requiring this intervention.”

Last updated on: 05 / 12 / 2022