Dublin South West TD, Sean Crowe, has described the Mental Health Commission’s report on mental health services as damning. The report, which was published this week, describes the system as ‘unsafe and substandard’ and clearly in disarray.

The Sinn Féin TD said the report details a whole litany of systemic failures and it criticises the wholly inadequate response from the Government on tackling issues which put vulnerable patients at risk.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“The Mental Health Commission’s report is just the latest in a long line of expert analysis of the mental health services which have found them to be below what is sufficient to meet the needs of the vulnerable people who rely on them.

“The Mental Health Commission releases a report every year and the findings in this year’s edition while damning of governments failures, are nothing new to those who have been following their work, advocating for change, or trying to engage with the services.

“Yet again last year we see the continuation of the intolerable admission of children and adolescents into adult mental health units due to the toxic mix of staff and bed shortages.

“82 young people were forced to spend at least one night in an adult ward while at their most vulnerable mentally. In some cases the children did not even have a bed free for the night.

“The HSE statement plays this down comparing it to decade old figures but this is a marked increase on the previous year and down obvious inadequacies in the system.”

Crowe continued:

“Outpatient CAMHS services are understaffed, waiting lists for assessments and psychological services are on an upward trend and early intervention is being neglected.

“This week I visited the Linn Dara Child and Adolescents Service Mental Health Day programme in Cherry Orchard in Ballyfermot with colleagues from the Oireachtas Mental Health Committee

“We decided to visit after hearing of its sudden and impending closure due to staff shortages. This will leave only two day hospitals open, only 60 of the promised 100 in-patient beds operational, and less than 50% of the community teams operational.

“We should be aiming to avoid altogether the need for young people to be admitted to wards, never mind simply to provide them an age appropriate environment.

“The Commission reports that progress on needed reform has been slow or non-existent in many parts of country. This cannot be allowed to continue.

“The government needs to get real and begin prioritising not just investment in mental health but in driving the reforms that will deliver a first class service for some of our most vulnerable citizens.”