Dublin: Inadequate, Underfunded, Dysfunctional & Outdated Mental Health Care Services Must Be An Election Issue: UPDATED

15 Feb

POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT IN IRELAND HAS NO VISION FOR CHANGE:

Louise Carron, with Aislinn Amory, Heather Ann Cody, Christine Dobbin and Blaithin Canaty outside Leinster House asking people to ‘Get on Board for Youth Mental Health’.

Their campaign bus will be touring the State to encourage general election candidates to put youth mental health on their political agenda. The initiative is spearheaded by youth charities Headstrong, Belong To, Foraige and Inspire Ireland.

www.teenline.ie & www.spunout.ie & www.letsomeoneknow.ie & www.aware.ie & www.3ts.ie

Mental health care is treated like the Cinderella of the Irish health system, campaigners say.

A coalition of organisations is demanding political parties seeking votes in the forthcoming general election commit now to an overhaul.

Orla Barry, director of Mental Health Reform (MHR), formerly the Irish Mental Health Coalition, urged voters to make outdated mental health care an election issue with candidates ahead of the poll.

“People who are concerned about the poor quality of services available should raise this issue with election candidates – and call on them to commit to reform if elected,” she said.

One in four Irish people experiences mental health problems at some time in their lives, according to MHR.

The coalition said a report commissioned for the Department of Health four years ago – A Vision for Change – was making slow progress in shutting down old Victorian asylums and creating new community-based services.

A commitment in the report to ensure 8% of overall healthcare spending goes towards mental health by 2016 – up from the current 5% – must also be met, they insisted.

NEWS UPDATE:

Previous Related Article Published On – 31/01/2008.

Primary Schools Expel Disturbed Children:

By J. P. Anderson

SCHOOLS are being forced to expel disruptive children as the only way to help them access proper support services, a primary principals’ leader has revealed.

The drastic measure highlights the frustration of primary school principals over inadequate resources to deal with the growing emotional and behavioural problems among pupils. Ahead of their annual conference which begins today, Irish Primary Principals Network president Larry Fleming said these needs can not be met because of waiting lists or children falling between health services and special education supports.

He referred to a school where the principal had trouble getting help for a boy with violent behaviour.
“They have excluded the child from school because it is the only way the other children can be protected and proper support services will be put in place for the child and his family.
“As long as he is in school the health services say the school needs to deal with the problem and the Department of Education says, because a child’s needs are not strictly learning needs, no extra resources are available,” said Mr Fleming.
He said this is typical of the situation in which children with emotional issues, violent or bullying behaviour do not fit into any category covered by the department’s special needs regulations. A survey of about 800 principals found nine-out-of-10 have seen an increase in emotional disturbance and attention disorders among pupils, while half believe more pupils are depressed or behaving violently.
“If a child’s problems do not fit under the heading of learning difficulties, the school is told that nothing can be done and the health services should be called. Then you’re into waiting lists and day-to-day, meanwhile the teacher and the school may have to cope with violent, threatening and bullying behaviour,” said Mr Fleming.
He said children and their needs do not always fit into the restricted categories laid down by the department, even though the model works very well for children with diagnosed learning needs that fit into the established categories. “We also have to think of the other children who might be seriously affected by the problems of one child,” he said.
“We need to be able to call on appropriate help and support directly, no matter where that help comes from — be it play therapy, behaviour management, counselling, psychiatric services or more serious interventions,” said Mr Fleming.
The Department of Education is spending about €900 million on supports for students with special needs this year, ranging from resource teaching for those with common learning difficulties to the high-support needs of children with autism or severe behavioural disorders.

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