Wednesday, 29 September 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Mental Health Services
I thank the Minister of State for her extensive reply on behalf of her colleague. I accept that the Minister of State is doing everything possible and is very active on the ground. As we all know in this House, no matter how active someone is, some things get away from him or her. Often, if things are supposed to work a certain way, it does not necessarily follow that they work that way. Another complication for young adults and adults is if they have an addiction. If they have an addiction, they will not be taken by most places. They have to seek treatment for that. People have to take time out to get treatment first, otherwise they will not get accommodation at all. This is crazy. I do not blame the Minister of State. The exigencies within which we work are ridiculous and they do not address the significant challenges in front of us.
I know of one case where an individual is in prison because he has a mental problem. He got into a situation where he broke the law, as has happened many times in the past and will happen in the future. The sad part of it is that he will probably receive a prison sentence, having done nothing else wrong but being unable to access treatment for his condition. That is a recent issue and there are numerous other such incidents. We all have to join parents at night, sometimes as late as midnight, where they have been waiting all day, or for two or three days, to gain access. It is challenging all the way. I compliment the Minister of State on the work that has been done but there is a need to poke the bear more, identify the snags, and ensure, whatever is being done now, that efforts are redoubled in a way that brings the necessary treatment within the reach of parents, siblings and all of the families of those affected.