Dublin North East Labour T.D. Tommy Broughan has slammed Health Minister Mary Harney for her absolute failure to provide mental health resources especially for vulnerable 16 and 17 year old teens in Dublin’s Northside.
Deputy Broughan said, “I understand from December 1st that St. Ita’s Hospital will no longer admit anyone under 18 due to a ruling by the Mental Health Commission. Child and adolescent mental health services do not as a rule admit any teen who is over 15 years of age. This means that extremely vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds in need of mental health support services have simply nowhere to go.
“There is one unit in North Dublin with just six-beds which can admit a 16 or 17 year old in a crisis situation. But astonishingly the catchment area of this unit stretches across Dublin’s Northside right up to Cavan and Monaghan. The pressure on this six bed unit is very severe.”
Deputy Broughan has learnt that 16 and 17 year old teens in need of specialist emergency psychiatric care are sometimes forced to spend days in Beaumont A&E due to the lack of any mental health facilities that they are eligible to access.
Deputy Broughan said, “This is the most appalling Catch-22 situation for some of our most vulnerable citizens. At 16 and 17, these young people are too old for the child mental health services and too young for the adult facilities. Early intervention makes sense in every way here, for the health of our young people and to ease the burden on the health service. It is appalling that Health Minister Harney and her Fianna Fail and Green colleagues would provide so few resources for this critical part of the health system.”