10 November 2017
By Mary Bermingham
A new national telephone helpline for accessing mental health services is to get the green light, a Fine Gael Minister has said.
Cork South West TD and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Jim Daly, is suggesting that the number 8255, which is ‘Talk’ on the phone keypad, be used as the number for the new service.
Minister Daly said: “Since taking up my role as Minister for Mental Health, I wanted to bring about a real tangible resource that will not only benefit people today but also those in the future.
“Taking from the example of the 999 services, where someone can call a well know telephone number and get the right help they need, I wanted to bring that same approach towards Mental Health. What I am proposing is that we establish a national number for people to be seamlessly transferred to the service that is most appropriate for them.
“It is important that we use a number that is short and easy to remember, a number that in time people will recognise just as clearly as 999. When people need help for themselves or indeed for another, they don’t need to think about where to go, they will know the number in their head,” Minister Daly continued.
“The importance of a universal number means that people don’t need a smart phone or even a mobile phone.
“They don’t need to download an app or visit a website, they can simply text or dial a short number and connect with someone who can get them to the right service that they need.”
The Minister confirmed that his proposal does not intend to establish a new listening or treatment service but rather act as a referral pathway and connect people with the fantastic organisations already available.
“I do not want to replace the work they are doing, in fact I want to help people to connect with the right service provider that is suitable for them.”
Concluding, Minister Daly confirmed that he expects the new national helpline to be up and running in 2018.