The HSE says that more targeted therapeutic services are now being offered to people affected by the Creeslough tragedy.
While counselling services remain available in Creeslough, Dunfanaghy, Falcarragh and Letterkenny, the drop-in service has been withdrawn.
There have been calls for the community service to be reinstated, but the HSE has said the alternatives are an upgrade to the psychological ‘First Aid’ support that was established the day after the tragedy at the local service station.
Independent Deputy Thomas Pringle told the Dáil this week that there would be a heightened need for counselling services this week, which is the one month anniversary since the tragedy.
Deputy Pringle that counselling without a GP referral should be available to everyone.: “I would like to call on the HSE to bring back the drop-in counselling support services in Creeslough, not only during this particularly difficult time, but also to be available at any point in the future. Twenty days is not nearly enough time for those affected.”
A statement from the HSE today said: “Whilst this service is still available via the Support line (087 140 5138) and in person in Creeslough as required, the response has now has now been upgraded to focus on the provision of more targeted therapeutic services, by facilitating referrals to clinical services for counselling, trauma therapy (where indicated) and mental health services.”
The psychosocial response to tragedy is multifaceted, they said, with the Psychological First Aid Support Service being only one part of the comprehensive response. The support sessions which were offered on the phone and in the community from 8th October were a WHO-recommended response, the HSE said.
A spokesperson said: “The nature of the response will changes over time in line with the needs of the community and in line with international best practise.”
The HSE Support Line remains open at 087 1405138 Monday to Friday 9 am to 5pm.