Thursday, 7 November 2019
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh (Atógáil) - Questions on Promised Legislation (Resumed)
Niamh Smyth (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
This morning we listened to a gripping and courageous interview on the Joe Finnegan show on Northern Sound with Leah. I am sure the Minister has seen Leah's video which has gone viral on social media. Leah is a young woman who has lost her father and her brother through suicide. She gave a heartbreaking account of how her family had been utterly failed, as she feels, by the mental health services. She spoke of her brother presenting himself at the accident and emergency department and how he was sent home because they did not have a bed. Leah described hospital wards for patients suffering with mental health problems as prisons - unfriendly and unfit for purpose. In Leah's own words, the Government needs to open its eyes. Leah spoke about her father and her brother trying to access mental health services but with no follow-up, no support and no continuity. The saddest part of her experience, as she revealed in her interview, is that she believed her brother did his very best to live. His mind was unwell but his body fought to live. The system has failed Leah's family, and as a result she has lost her father and her brother. I am asking the Minister to recognise the fact that there is a crisis in our mental health services.