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Limerick man discharged from hospital in suicidal state slams mental health service

'To me, it was like a McDonald’s drive through. You’re in and you’re out. That’s how fast it was. To get home, I had to pass over the same bridge where I’d just tried to kill myself'

Neasa Cumiskey

A Limerick man has said that being discharged from hospital hours after contemplating suicide was the “worst experience” of his life.

Brian Hayes (32) was sent to the emergency department in University Hospital Limerick in a suicidal state earlier this month.

After contemplating jumping into the River Shannon to end his life, he decided to ring a GP, who then sent him to the hospital in an ambulance.

However, the father-of-two said that his experience in UHL was distressing and left him with “bad anxiety.”

“To me, it was like a McDonald’s drive through. You’re in and you’re out. That’s how fast it was,” he told

Brian Hayes said he was discharged from UHL in a "distressed state"

“When I was sitting down with the crisis nurse, there was no love and no heart. There was no want to help. He asked me if I was suicidal and I said, ‘I’m not suicidal at the minute but I was suicidal about an hour ago.’

“Moments later, I was discharged but I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay there and I wanted to get help. I was still in a distressed state when they released me. I was full of anxiety, full of depression, full of suicidal thoughts.

“In order to get home, I had to pass over that same bridge that I’d just tried to kill myself. All I could think was, ‘What if I went back and jumped into that river?’ because the hospital didn’t help me.

“I had an image in my head of putting my hand on the wall and just leaping in. I felt what it was like to not care about anything else but suicide.

“It’s after leaving a scar on me. It left me with a feeling that I’d never trust the mental health services again unless they actually do something and change it.

“Now I have to live with the whole experience and knowing that it’s happening to other people as well.

Brian is now campaigning for better mental health services in Ireland and has shared his experience in a number of Facebook videos in the hope that he raises awareness about the issue.

“I’ve had loads of people texting me and reaching out telling me what they’re struggling with too. Those videos were shared because I knew what was happening to me was wrong,” the father-of-two explained.

“The hospital has a chance to prevent suicide and an opportunity to help people. If the hospital can’t help you, no one can. You want to be healed or in the process of healing when you’re in a hospital.

“You want to be given guidance, a booklet, what foods to eat, what vitamins to take, learning how to deal with these problems before you leave the hospital. Give them therapy and help them.

Continuing, he said: “Instead of discharging someone if they’re not feeling suicidal at that moment, discharge them when they’re feeling okay again. When I was discharged, my head was all over the place.

“There’s no healing process. They just throw you a few tablets and you’re out the door.

“I’m not asking for them to spend billions. I’m just asking for them to fix the hospital system. It really needs all the attention. It needs it today and not tomorrow.

“I think it would be a lifesaver for so many people. It would minimise the damage,” he added.

If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article, contact the Samaritans on 116 123; Pieta House on 1800 247 247 or text HELLO to 50808, a free 24/7 text support service for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis.

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