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fight for resources Dad discharged from hospital in suicidal state takes campaign to the Dail

"I felt like they started operating on me and they left the operating table and left me with an open wound. How many people are going to [leave the hospital] and harm themselves again a few days later?"

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Brian Hayes at Dail Eireann

Brian Hayes at Dail Eireann

Brian Hayes

Brian Hayes

Brian Hayes with Willie O'Dea TD

Brian Hayes with Willie O'Dea TD

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Brian Hayes at Dail Eireann

A dad is campaigning to improve Ireland's mental health services after being discharged from hospital in a suicidal state.

Brian Hayes (32) was sent to the emergency department in University Hospital Limerick at the beginning of February but was sent home a few hours later.

The father-of-two described the incident as the "worst experience" of his life and said he was shocked that hospital staff would release a patient in such a distressed state.

"I've never felt rejected like that in a hospital system before. I want to show the dark side of it but I want to show people that help is coming," he told the Sunday World.

"I felt like they started operating on me and they left the operating table and left me with an open wound. How many people are going to [leave the hospital] and harm themselves again a few days later?

Mr Hayes, who is from Limerick, is now pushing for a better mental health service, and ventured to Dublin to relay his concerns before the Dáil in recent weeks.

"I was up in the Dáil last week with Limerick Treaty Suicide Prevention. I was speaking and we had a chat and I got shown around.

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Brian Hayes

Brian Hayes

Brian Hayes

"I've met with Maurice Quinlivan of Sinn Féin, Peadar Tóibín of Aontú, Brian Ledden from the Green Party in Limerick, and Willie O'Dea. I've been invited back up to the Dáil again by Peadar so I'm going to head up soon."

He said that he plans to invite speakers from other groups, such as Irish Travellers and asylum seekers, to accompany him when he returns to the Dáil.

"There's a Traveller activist, her name is Mags Casey. Last year, [the Traveller community] had a really high spike in suicide rates. I believe she lost two members of her family last year to suicide. I'm going to see if she can come with us [to the Dáil].

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"It would be good to get other communities to speak about the mental health situation.

"This isn't just about me. It's about other communities as well. I want to make it about us all. It's about everyone and we all deserve a proper mental health system. That's all we're asking for.

"It's time to help people, especially those coming to this country from Ukraine and other places where there is war. It's time to help us all."

Mr Hayes added that he will continue to raise awareness about the country's mental health crisis until he sees a sufficient improvement in the system.

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Brian Hayes with Willie O'Dea TD

Brian Hayes with Willie O'Dea TD

Brian Hayes with Willie O'Dea TD

"On my part, I want to address the hospital situation. I want more care, love, and humanity for each patient who enters the door and is in crisis. I want to be heard and I want to get the hospital situation sorted.

"All I want is a bit more humanity and a bit more care in the hospitals.

"If I sit back and let it continue after what I witnessed, I just don't think that would be right. If I have a way to speak out and use my voice like I'm doing now and it's raising some sort of awareness, I'm going to continue doing it."

You can 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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