Year-long delay for counselling services for Mother & Baby Home survivors ‘unacceptable’ – Mitchell
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Denise Mitchell TD has said that long delays in the allocation of counselling services to survivors of Mother and Baby Homes who have testified before the Commission of Investigation is unacceptable.
Deputy Mitchell said:
“The provision of counselling and mental health services has been a key issue which has been raised with me in almost every meeting I have had with survivors of Mother and Baby Homes.
“While I welcome the fact that the State has been keen to ensure the provision of counselling services for survivors, there unfortunately appears to be serious issues with long delays in appointments and also the inability of the state to facilitate survivors who wish to continue on with a previously established client-counsellor relationship.
“Survivors say that while the initial meeting to determine whether a person is eligible for state-funded counselling is quick, the actual appointment itself can be a very long wait – in some cases over a year. Obviously appearing before the Commission can be very traumatic for survivors, so a year delay before counselling begins simply is not acceptable.
“There appears to be no provision to allow a survivor continue on with their private counsellor, except at their own expense. It can be very difficult for a survivor who has worked with their own private counsellor for years and with whom they have built up trust, to then build up the same kind of trust with the state-funded counsellor.
“I understand that the new Collaborative Forum announced by the Minister will look very closely at health and wellbeing resources for survivors. So, I hope this is an issue which will take priority and it may be useful to look at some sort of mechanism that would allow survivors continue on with their own long-time counsellor without incurring significant costs.”