Report on mental health services ‘a wake-up call’

Mental health campaigners have said the latest critical report on the state of services should act as a wake-up call to government.

The reports, by the Mental Health Commission and the Inspector of Mental Health Services, sharply criticised services around the country and highlighted concerns about access to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and about unregulated supervision at 24-hour centres.

Senator Joan Freeman, who founded Pieta House, said the report findings were “shocking, but not surprising”.

“The Mental Health Commission does not have the power that HIQA has to make changes within the HSE,” she said.

“The MHC have found, on numerous occasions, that child mental health services are in a state of chaos and, once again, the MHC have declared that there is an increase in children being admitted into adult psychiatric wards.”

The director of Mental Health Reform, Shari McDaid, said extra resources were urgently needed in the sector.

“The commission’s damning report of mental health services clearly demonstrates the human impact resulting from the Government’s continued failure to act on updating Ireland’s mental health law, or investing adequately in mental health services, so that they can be delivered in a safe way.”

The HSE said measures had been taken to improve the service, including the national framework for recovery in mental health, launched last year. A spokesperson said: “The HSE’s area mental health teams have created implementation plans to address the recommendations made by the commission and are working towards improving the services provided to service users and their families.”

Further initiatives were underway to address the bed shortage and waiting list within CAMHS, including the recruitment of 10 new posts for advance nurse practitioners (ANPs).

“There are also an additional 20 beds planned for the new children’s hospital and an additional 10 forensic beds in the National Forensic Mental Health Service,” the spokesperson added.

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