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Mental health service failing those at risk of suicide – McDonald

21 July, 2016 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on mental health and suicide, Mary Lou McDonald TD has outlined how the government is failing those at risk of suicide, by the failure to set up 24/7 crisis intervention services and the provision of only 15 Suicide Crisis Intervention Nurses in the state.

Highlighting the tragic case of Ryan Dempsey in the Dáil today during Leaders' Questions, Deputy McDonald said:

“Yesterday the Coroners Court held an inquest into the death by suicide of a young man in November 2014. Ryan Dempsey from the Liberties was only in his early twenties. He had his full life ahead of him.

"He clearly was a young man at risk, having been discharged five times from the A&E in a six month period. The final occasion he presented himself to the A&E, expressed suicidal feelings. He was left in a room by himself. He attempted to cut himself twice. He was then transferred to a ward, was left on his own again. Ryan hanged himself.

“We failed Ryan, the health system failed Ryan. How different it might have been if Ryan was provided with the proper follow up care on his first presentation. His family believe that he was not assessed properly, he was not observed properly, his care was inappropriate, inadequate right up until he took his life.

“Ryan was failed by a mental health service which simply does not function at the times when people need it. A&E is not the right place for people in acute mental distress. We need to fund the delivery of the community and early intervention services as promised in a vision for change ten years ago.

“Ten years on from Vision for Change we still do not have a state-wide 24/7 crisis intervention service. Not a single crisis house has been established. At present there are just fifteen Suicide Crisis Intervention Nurses in the state.

“In a shocking report issued today by the ISPCC it states that children can wait up to four weeks for an emergency mental health nurse and eighteen months for to see a child psychologist.

This, minister is unacceptable. You are not new to government Tánaiste, you have sat at cabinet for the last five years. Why are there still no 24/7 crisis intervention services? Why are there no crisis houses? How many more young people like Ryan will be failed?”


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