Mental Health

Louth TD says Government failing young people in need of mental health supports

2017 Mental Health Commission report

Donard McCabe

Reporter:

Donard McCabe

Louth TD critical of inadequate Child and Adolescent mental health supports in Louth

Louth TD critical of inadequate Child and Adolescent mental health supports in Louth

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has expressed serious concerns at the government’s continued failure to provide adequate Child and Adolescent Mental Health supports in the region, following the recent publication of the 2017 Mental Health Commission’s report.

The report includes findings made by the Inspector of Mental Health with regard to compliance with regulations and services' quality, including an assessment of CHO Area 8 – the area in which Louth is located.

The figures show that while nationally there was a 2% increase on the average national compliance with regulations, CHO Area 8 saw a drop of 3%.

Commenting on the findings of the report Deputy Adams said;

“This government is failing young people in need of mental health supports in Louth and across the state.

“The report shows children and young people in CHO Area 8, which covers Laois/Offaly, Longford/Westmeath and Louth/Meath, could wait up to 15 months for their initial assessment.

“Worryingly it also reveals that ten young people were admitted to adult mental health units in the region in 2017. The commission noted that this was directly related to lack of out of hours Child and Adolescent out of hour’s service in the region.

“The region covered by CHO Area 8, including Louth has the largest population of young people aged 0-18 years in the state, yet it remains understaffed and under resourced.  

In the report, the Commission expressed its dismay at “the pattern of issues that have been consistently highlighted in Annual Reports dating back to 2012. “

Issues the Commission highlighted include:

  • The inappropriate admission of children into adult mental health in-patient services.
  • Inadequate staffing and variable funding in community child and adolescent mental health services, leading to unacceptable waiting times, and forcing young people into emergency services.
  • The continuing inability of some services to put in place an individualised care plan and therapeutic programme, which are the cornerstone of a recovery focussed person centred service as per national policy.
  • The widespread use of restrictive practices such as seclusion and physical restraint as a normalised behaviour in services which lack sufficient numbers of staff and/or appropriately trained staff.
  • The fundamental and careless lack of attention to basic issues such as dirty and dilapidated premises, which do not ensure adequate privacy and where there has been a disappointing drop in compliance from already low levels.
  • The provision of services to vulnerable people with long-term mental illness who are accommodated in 24-hour community residences that are not subject to regulatory oversight.

Deputy Adams was critical of the Government's delivery of mental health services in Louth.

“I have continuously raised the unacceptable lack of mental health services in north Louth with various Ministers and with An Taoiseach. These services have still not been delivered.

 “The government must act on the Commission’s findings and deliver adequately resourced Child and Adolescent Mental Health services without delay", he concluded.