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| On 2 years ago

Press Statement on Mental Health – Seamus Healy TD

By Press Release

Healy says people being failed by our Mental Health System and calls for a big turn-out at Thursday’s meeting in Clonmel’s Park Hotel.

During Leader’s Questions on Thursday 26th of April Deputy Healy said:

“Children with Mental Health difficulties and their parents face immense challenges to get an adequate, or indeed any, service. Due to this, many children carry those difficulties into their adult lives.

The position would be much worse were it not for the tremendous work done by community and voluntary organisations across the country. There are many such organisations in my own area, including the River Suir Suicide Patrol, Taxi Watch and C-SAW, the community suicide awareness workers. These all operate on a voluntary, unpaid basis and do tremendous work. There is huge frustration among these organisations, which feel alone in dealing with issues that should be properly dealt with by the public mental health service. These organisations need to be acknowledged, supported and resourced, along with financial support.

We are failing to provide for our young people. We need to do so urgently, it must become a Government priority. We cannot, should not, and hopefully, will not kick the can further down the road in this. They need to be implemented urgently not in the next budget but now, because this is something that is affecting young people on a minute by minute basis.

Children and young people are being failed by our mental health system. For the past three months since February, young people experiencing mental health difficulties have been admitted to the paediatric ward in South Tipperary General Hospital. Today, there are three young people on the ward. There have been as many as five and their lengths of stay have been as long as eight weeks. The reason for this, as we all know, is that there are simply not enough inpatient beds for young people with mental health difficulties.

Admissions to the paediatric ward in South Tipperary General Hospital are totally inappropriate.

Nursing staff do their best. They are kind, compassionate and caring but they are not trained to provide mental health care. Parents, usually mothers, must stay on the ward overnight to give support to their children. Of course, there are knock-on effects in delayed admissions for other patients.

Every day, young people with mental health difficulties do not receive the age-appropriate timely services and supports they need. This causes psychological and social damage to these young people. It has a detrimental effect, not just on themselves, but also on their parents, their siblings, their schools and their communities. Of course, it reinforces the whole stigma regarding those with mental health difficulties.

We all know what needs to be done. We have had report after report. The problem is we have had no action on those reports or their recommendations.

I remind the Tánaiste that to tackle this significant issue, we need:

  1. additional inpatient beds for children and young people with mental health difficulties
  2. 24-7 crisis intervention teams providing rapid assessment for those children and young people
  3. a comprehensive primary care counselling service
  4. a fully staffed existing child and adolescent mental health teams
  5. to resource and support, including financially, community and voluntary organisations working in these areas
  6. a designated leader – a tsar-type arrangement – whose sole duty and responsibility will be to drive the implementation of these measures to ensure our young people get the services they deserve and need urgently. It should be like how cancer care services developed recently

When will we see these measures being implemented by the Government?

Press Release