Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described the findings of the Mental Health Commission’s report on community mental health supports and psychiatric services as a disgrace of almost incomprehensible proportions. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Commission found that there is an almost “total absence” of community mental health services across the State:
“Many of us who have been trying for years to assist constituents, families and patients to access appropriate levels of mental health care knew that the services were in crisis.
That does not mean however that we were not stunned by the starkness of the findings and the state wide geographical nature of the deficiencies that have been identified.
It is almost incomprehensible that not one of the 15 intensive care beds as part of the development of four national combined intensive care rehabilitation facilities have been provided.
It is equally alarming to read that the inadequate provision of psychiatric intensive care units continues to result in the most severely unwell people with challenging behaviour not having access to intensive care in an appropriate facility.
What the Report also makes clear is that the failures are affecting all age groups. For instance, the Commission found that the provision of acute mental health beds for older adults in Ireland is severely deficient and that the availability of 56 older-age adult beds that were identified in Ireland is less than half of the 127 beds envisioned by ‘A Vision for Change.”
In Tipperary we have clearly seen the effects that are brought about by the total collapse of residential psychiatric bed provision.
All of these issues demonstrate the absolute urgency of getting a government in place that is willing and able to bring about real change.
The time for game playing and posturing by the likes of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail is over. The political establishment must respond to this crisis with the compassion and determination that it merits,” concluded Deputy McGrath.
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