Sinn Féin spokesperson for Addiction and Cork TD Thomas Gould TD together with party spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD have introduced the Dual Diagnosis: No Wrong Door Bill 2021 to help those battling mental health issues and addiction.
Dual Diagnosis refers to people who present for treatment who have substance misuse and mental health conditions and the bill aims to “plug the gaps in services that exist between mental health and addiction”.
The Bill was introduced on Thursday and passed the first stage without opposition.
Cork North Central TD, Thomas Gould said that the issue has been raised to him numerous times.
“I have been meeting addiction services on the ground for months now and this is an issue raised by almost every single one. When somebody in active addiction with mental health issues reaches out for help, no door should be shut in their face,” he said.
“Compassion, empathy and understanding are at the core of many of our addiction services. Unfortunately, they are not resourced or supported to deal with dual diagnosis."
He added: “This legislation will progress the provision of dual diagnosis services across the state, which would have a knock-on effect for individualised case management plans.
“We need to recognise that addiction is not a stand-alone issue. Wraparound supports and services are the only way to properly help people succeed in their recovery."
Mark Ward TD said that people who have a Dual Diagnosis often fall between the “gaps” in services.
"Addiction and mental health often go hand in hand,” he said.
“A joint care plan between addiction and mental health services needs to be developed to make sure people get the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.”
Speaking to The Echo, Deputy Gould said that they are advocating for a No Wrong Door policy to ensure that those looking for help are not turned away.
“We were glad that they didn’t oppose the Bill and we want to bring it forward and we’re hoping now that we will get cross-party support on it,” he added.