Adams: Gov Failing Young People in Mental Health Supports

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 Mental Health Commission’s report.

 

Commenting on the findings of the report Teachta 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.  

 

““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.

Gerry Adams continues Louth Mental Health Campaign

DSC_3254_6510Louth and East Meath Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams met with representatives of the HSE Louth Meath Mental Health team at the Singleton House Community Mental Health facility in Drogheda on Friday 24th February.

Speaking after the meeting Teachta Adams said;

“I was delighted to visit Singleton House this morning as part of my commitment to lobby for additional HSE spend on mental health in my constituency.

“Ladywell premises in Dundalk, which provides out patient mental health services for the north of the county needs to be replaced with a Primary Care Centre.

“The staff at Ladywell are superb however the premises are totally unacceptable, they are outdated, unsuitable, damp and urgently need to be upgraded.

“The difference in Singleton House and Ladywell is stark.

“Singleton House is a state of the art, bright and modern facility which staff I met are rightly proud of.

“There are treatment rooms and therapeutic rooms and larger rooms for staff training and other activities.

“The contrast with the Ladywell premises could not be more pronounced.

“It is unconscionable that citizens in the north of the county, which has the highest indices of deprivation, are not afforded a similar level of service as those citizens in south Louth.

“Louth has the lowest per capita spend on mental health across the State.

“This must be rectified and the development of suitable mental health premises, whether that be within a Primary Care Centre or via the upgrade of the Ladywell site, would be an appropriate starting point.

“I have written to Minister of State for Mental Health Helen McEntee to raise my concerns about the need for capital investment in Dundalk to service north Louth and I again urge her to visit Ladywell so that she can meet the staff there and help move this project forward.”

Adams raises Mental Health Provision in Louth with Taoiseach and Minister McEntee

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams raised his concerns about mental health facilities in north Louth during Leaders Questions with the Taoiseach this morning. Mr. Adams called on the government to provide a time frame for the full implementation of the mental health programme ‘Vision for Change.’

The focus of Teachta Adams question centred on the report that there have been sixteen suicides in Cork in a fortnight. And the impact of this on families and communities. The Louth TD made the point that suicide and deficiencies in mental health services is an issue in Louth as well as in other parts of the island of Ireland.

Teachta Adams said:

“Suicide affects all sections and all generations are affected, from the very young to the very old, in rural and urban areas. It’s a human cost beyond comprehension.  One in seven adults will experience mental health challenges in any given year. In 2015, there were 451 recorded suicides in this State and 318 in the north, though we all know under reporting is wide spread.

The real figure for suicide across the island may be as high as one thousand people annually. It has also been recorded that at least 8,790 citizens presented with self-harm at hospitals across the State.

Last month I visited the Ladywell mental health day centre in Dundalk, which provides services for most of north Louth. The staff are extremely dedicated, but the conditions in which they are forced to treat patients is entirely unsuitable. The rooms are originally staff quarters which date back to when the hospital was first built seventy years ago. Some rooms are closed because of dampness. The maintenance bill alone is a constant drain on resources.

And whilst staff numbers have increased, there’s no room for them in Ladywell so they have to work out of St. Brigid’s in Ardee, with patients as far away as Carlingford having to travel there.

It’s entirely unacceptable, and they are of course just one of many units across the State that desperately need additional funding and an overhaul of facilities.

This morning I wrote to the Minister of State with responsibility for mental health Helen McEntee.  I asked her to provide a time frame for the delivery of a Primary Care Centre in Dundalk or, if this is not possible, to commit to the renovation and extension of the existing facilities at Ladywell to ensure adequate mental healthcare provision for the people of North Louth.

The State’s mental health policy ‘A Vision for Change’ has been in place since 2006. Despite that and ten years later there is still an absence of 24/7 crisis care. Staffing levels across the board are about 75% of the ‘Vision for Change’ recommended number. In some areas, they are way behind that figure.

In child and adolescent teams, staffing is just half of that recommended. The government committed to providing 8.24% of the health budget to mental health services. This target has never been met.

This pattern was repeated in this year’s budget. €35 million was announced, but the Minister then said just €15 million in additional funds would be provided for next year. An increase of less than two percent.

The government has a responsibility to provide a firm time frame for the implementation of Vision for Change.”

Louth Children admitted to adult mental health Centres – Gerry Adams TD

Gerry Adams SmilingSinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams TD has described the admission of children to adult only in-patient mental health approved centres as a “scandal that must be urgently addressed.”

The Louth TD said: “The Mental Health Commission report published this week has revealed that 95 children were admitted in 2015 to adult approved centres in direct contravention of the Code of Practice”.

20 of these children were from the Community Healthcare Area (CHO 8) which covers county Louth, Laois, Offaly, Longford Westmeath and Meath.”

Gerry Adams said:

“Under current mental health policy children up to the age of 18 who require in-patient mental health services should only be admitted to dedicated child and adolescent in-patient units.

Last year that instruction was breached 95 times and 20 children from the region that includes Louth were among them.

The report also reveals that the Community Healthcare Area with the highest numbers of admissions was CHO 8 which includes county Louth.

The Commission states that the admitting team attempted unsuccessfully to source an inpatient bed in the approved dedicated child and adolescent centres for all of the children. However, it has emerged that on all dates that children were admitted to adult centres there were bed vacancies. It notes that it is ‘unclear why these vacant beds were not made available.’

It suggests that this may be down to beds being needed outside of office hours or the lack of available emergency cover. None of these excuses are acceptable.

The Commission’s report illustrates how much remains to be done, including the need for independent monitoring of the State’s mental health strategy ‘Vision for Change’. There are also huge issues surrounding funding, or the lack of it. The current level of funding for mental health is still less than the 8.24% target, based on 2005 figures, envisaged in ‘A Vision for Change’.

I have written to the Minister for Health seeking explanations about the admission of children to adults units. The government also has a responsibility to provide adequate funding and administrative and organisational resources to mental health services.”

Adams – Mental Health Services ‘Worrying’

Gerry Suicide StatementThe meeting took place in St Brigid’s Hospital, Ardee on Friday 15th April and was also attended by Sinn Féin councillors Tom Cunningham and Pearse McGough.

Speaking after the meeting Gerry Adams said;

“I want to thank the Manager of Louth Meath Mental Health Services, Ger McCormack and the recently appointed Suicide Prevention Officer for Louth Meath, Sandra Okome for facilitating our meeting.

“During the course of the meeting some worrying issues were identified such as the lack of out of hours support for people located in Dundalk and the surrounding areas.

“Currently out of hours provision is delivered by the North East Doctor on Call (NEDOC) which is located in Drogheda, at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, also based in Drogheda or at St Brigid’s Complex in Ardee.  There is no HSE facility in Dundalk for people who are suffering outside of regular office hours.

“SOSAD is the only 24 hour, completely free service available to the 64,000 people who live in Dundalk and the surrounding rural areas.  I am well aware of the amazing voluntary work that SOSAD do, however their services are under constant threat of due to lack of resources.”

In addition the Sinn Féin President has expressed concern that the Dundalk base for mental health services, the Ladywell Centre at the Louth Hospital, is a dilapidated prefab.

“There is a lot of excellent work being done by the HSE in Louth to combat suicide,” said Teachta Adams, “This is evidenced by the figures which show a reduction in deaths by suicide in County Louth over the past three years.

“However I don’t believe that staff in the HSE are being properly resourced to do their jobs and this is having a negative impact on patient care and patient experiences.

“In addition to sub-standard accommodation I have received information that the Louth Meath area has the 2nd lowest per capita funding on mental health in the State – this is unacceptable and I intend to write to the acting Health Minister to query why Louth spending on mental health is so low, particularly in light of recent revelations that €12 million of the €35 million ring-fenced for mental health in the last budget is being diverted to other areas in health.”