THE HSE is relying on emergency rooms and charities to deal with people experiencing suicidal ideation outside of normal office hours.
They confirmed they have no dedicated out of hours suicide intervention service in Cork, in a reply to a parliamentary question from Cork South Central Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath.
The HSE says that it advises people in need of urgent medical attention to call 999 or go directly to the emergency department in either Cork University Hospital or Mercy University Hospital. People who are not in need of urgent help are advised to contact SouthDoc.
Mr McGrath said that people in crisis may be put off from seeking help because of the lack of a dedicated service.
"My real concern is that people who need help will be deterred by the prospect of going to the accident and emergency, and having to queue for hours and wait. I think it's an incredibly unsuitable environment for someone in a time of crisis in their lives," he said.
He said that dedicated out of hours services have been the policy for a long time, but had not been fulfilled yet.
During the day, people with suicidal ideation are advised by the HSE to contact their GP, make an appointment with the HSE's mental health services, contact the Samaritans or Pieta House, or, in a crisis, go directly to an accident and emergency department.
The Samaritans free 24-hour help line can be reached on 116 123 while Pieta House also operates a free 24-hour contact line on 1800 247 247.