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Lack of information on mental health deaths 'extremely worrying'

The Government has no record of the number of people who have died by suicide having been in psychiatric units or hospitals immediately prior to their death.

Image: Themalni via Shutterstock

THE GOVERNMENT must undertake a comprehensive study to record of the number of people who have died by suicide after having been in psychiatric units or hospitals immediately prior to their death, Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming has said.

The Deputy said he was “shocked” to learn from Minister Kathleen Lynch that there was no record of the number of people who had taken their own lives shortly after being discharged from a psychiatric unit.

His condemned the response by Minister Lynch to his Parliamentary Question on this issue, in which she said such information was not available, saying that is was “an extremely serious matter which I equate to the deaths of children in care which the HSE similarly did not have information on up until quite recently”.

“Aside from confirming that this information is not available Minister Lynch appears to be making no effort to rectify this situation,” he added.

He said that the Government should immediately direct the HSE to establish the exact number of people who have died in each year who, within the month prior to their death, were in the care of the State’s psychiatric services.

Fleming said it was his belief that the number of people who have suffered from a psychiatric illness and subsequently died by suicide having been in contact with State services was “extremely high”.

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“We need clarity and openness on this issue,” he added.

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