Risk of abuse for 1,200 people with severe mental illnesses

Jess Casey More than 1,200 people with severe mental illnesses are at risk of abuse, having been left in “mini-institutions with little prospect of receiving rehabilitation” into independent living, the Mental Health Commission has found.

Risk of abuse for 1,200 people with severe mental illnesses

More than 1,200 people with severe mental illnesses are at risk of abuse, having been left in “mini-institutions with little prospect of receiving rehabilitation” into independent living, the Mental Health Commission has found.

During the course of 2018, the commission discovered a litany of ongoing “human rights breaches” for people with mental health illnesses living in 54 of the country’s 24-hour supervised residences. Almost 45% of residences did not provide single rooms to people living there and the vast majority, 91%, of shared bedrooms did not provide any privacy for residents, not even curtains between beds.

“This is in clear breach of the right to privacy and is unacceptable in any healthcare facility,” said Inspector of Mental Health Services Dr Susan Finnerty, author of the report.

“Almost one-fifth of residences, 19%, were found to be in such poor condition, they “showed disrespect for the residents’ dignity”.

One resident’s bedroom was found to be “sparsely furnished with no items other than a torn mattress on the floor and an unused TV behind a screen.”

Almost a third of residences did not allow residents access the kitchen, make a cup of tea, or prepare a snack, while over three-quarters of residences did not provide a bedroom key to people living there.

Minimal progress has been made addressing issues with such residences, which remain unregulated, said Dr Finnerty.

“I cannot stress enough the need for these residences to be regulated to protect the safety of people who live in them. The residents of these homes are a vulnerable group of people who are at risk of abuse and yet the provision of their care and accommodation is not regulated. This is a serious deficiency, leading to the risk of abuse and substandard living conditions and treatment.”

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