Figures released by the Health Service Executive show that two-thirds of patients presenting for hospital treatment for serious mental health issues last year were re-admitted to hospital within the year.

There were almost 13,100 admissions in 2015 - with the readmission rate at 66%.

Mental health groups have raised concerns about the numbers of patients accessing crisis services through emergency departments.

Last year more than 13,000 adults presented either at emergency departments or directly at acute psychiatric units in need of hospital treatment for serious mental health issues. 

The HSE said none of its community mental health services provide 24-hour cover and patients seeking to access acute mental health services out-of-hours must go to hospital emergency departments.

The HSE also said that just under one-third of vacancies remain unfilled for clinical nurse specialists who treat patients presenting to emergency departments with suicidal ideation or self harm.

The group Mental Health Reform has raised concerns about the high numbers of people attending emergency departments with mental health difficulties.

It said that emergency departments are not appropriate places to treat people suffering distress with mental health issues, and it called for investment in 24-hour community-based services.