مشاركات عشوائية

Irish mental health services for young people 'beyond the emergency'

featured image

The head of a youth charity has warned that Irish mental health services for young people are ‘beyond the emergency’.

Punout chief executive Ian Power said it was a “huge injustice” to young people that services were not available at the level needed.

He described youth suicide rates as “far too high”, adding that the health services are “not coping”.

“We are beyond the crisis phase, we are even beyond the emergency phase,” Mr Power told the PA news agency.

“We’re the highest in Europe in terms of youth suicide, we’re still in the top five, top 10.

“There have been improvements in other countries’ numbers, while Ireland has remained sticky and not improved.

“We don’t expect the rate to necessarily increase, as it is potentially already at its peak. The problem is, it’s not getting better.

Mr Power said the number of contacts with the youth NGO’s helpline “is not decreasing either”.

He said about a fifth of the 4,000 calls the volunteers handle each month are about suicide.

“There’s an increase in young people reaching out and looking for help, which is great,” Mr Power said.

“It’s great to see the stigma come down, but the problem is that the services just aren’t coping and providing timely answers to young people when they need them.”

He also said that young people’s mental health problems are “worsening” and becoming “much more acute” because they are not able to access prevention and early intervention services where they can talk. problems they encounter.

“There is a huge missing hole in mental health services in terms of talking therapies,” he said.

“Those who had it and could afford it can access private talk therapies, but even then there are actually waiting lists for those who are now at this stage, because there are so many people also trying to access good quality talking therapy. So that’s really the big concern for us.

The peak of onset of mental illness is generally between 15 and 25 years of age.

He said: ‘It is a huge injustice that mental health services are not where they need to be for young people because it is the number one health problem they suffer from.

“That’s really where our frustration comes from too, not only should we be trying to prepare young people to give them the coping skills they need throughout their lives, but also, this is that moment there in their life when they really need it [the support] most.”

Mr Power said there had been huge discussions of the issues with the HSE’s Child and Young People’s Mental Health Services (Camhs), but “the vast majority of needs are entirely outside of Camhs”.

He added that there was not strong enough accountability for the HSE’s mental health services.

“It is shocking that there are clinical guidelines on how Camhs services should be provided across the country and that there is a high level of non-compliance with these guidelines, which are just the basics of management of a service,” he said.

Mr Power described it as “very myopic” of the government and the health service not to adequately staff the services that exist.

“We see so many mental health clinicians leaving mental health services, because the system isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse, and there’s no vision on how we can fix this.

He added: “I’m just surprised there isn’t more political outcry about this. A lot of parents I talk to are just trying to focus on getting help for their son or daughter, and they don’t have the energy afterwards to be any kind of advocate.

He said a plan needed to be made to resolve the issues.

We tinker with the system, rather than transforming it… The strategy, Sharing the vision. It’s a very forward-thinking progressive strategy. But we really need to see much more urgent and comprehensive action.

He thinks the creation of a national director role for mental health within the HSE would be a positive development.

Post a Comment