Mental health and the difficulties with accessing services was put into the spotlight again in Leinster House by Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú who highlighted the problems in Louth.
The Sinn Féin TD was speaking during a debate on youth mental health last week. The party has tabled a Private Members’ Motion (PMB) in the Dáil on Tuesday on the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in the wake of the revelations about the service in Kerry.
During the debate last week, the Dundalk TD said: ‘We have all spoken about our own constituencies and constituents who have come to us and cannot get appointments, assessments or follow-up services.
‘Some of them will have had difficulties in how they were treated by the service, and the services will have their own difficulties in that they do not have the positions.
‘Members have spoken about clinical psychologists and the fact that there is a difficulty in them getting the qualification. There has been no facilitation from the State in looking at filling a need where it is there.
‘The State does not go out of its way to facilitate people who want to get there so we can provide the services that are absolutely required by our young people. Most speakers have referred to the disaster in the mental health services in Kerry, and unfortunately there is a question mark for those who work in CAMHS altogether’.
He said the greatest issue was that people cannot get access to the services they need.
He said: ‘People do not know whether they should go directly to a psychiatric unit or directly to an accident and emergency department. Generally, the result is not what it should be. This is not to take away from these services.
‘We all know that we are failing, at a community level, to deal with it and that we are not providing those initial services.
‘We have talked about eating disorders and what services we do not have. Sometimes, it is a lottery in terms of where one lives and what services one can access.
‘Sometimes, the relationship between various parts of the health service is not always what we would like it to be. We need an overhaul of that’.
Deputy Ó Murchú said there was a huge issue with children having access to illegal drugs and there is a need ‘for a service that is fit for purpose’.