Thursday, July 12, 2012

Kelly concerned about local family mental health service

Cllr Anthony Kelly has expressed his concerns over the perceived downgrading of an indispensable family mental health resource in County Wexford. The Sinn Féin rep said that recent changes made to a free drop in service for County Wexford parents who have concerns about the psychological well-being of their children or teenagers appear to limit the resources available. He said that such services were essential in safeguarding against another tragedy like Catstrand or Monageer.

“The free drop in service which was developed by the HSE's Wexford psychology department played a vital role in the lives of many families across the county,” Cllr Kelly said. “The service for parents who had concerns about the psychological well-being of their children or teenagers was introduced in a pilot project in Clonard Community Centre in 2001, followed shortly afterwards by a second service in New Ross. Soon it was introduced in Enniscorthy and Gorey towns as well, and was known to be treating an average of 339 families every year.”

“The service was so popular that it was selected for an award for innovative improvements in public services and better use of resources in 2008. It prompted other counties across the south east to replicate the successful project.”

“Recently the drop in service has been altered. It is now referred to as the Psychology Parent Consultation Service and now operates on alternate Wednesday mornings in Grogan's Road in Wexford town and in the New Ross Health Centre. This is a much reduced service which, I know from concerned constituents, has led to a waiting list.”

“Our county has had more than its fair share of family mental health tragedies. We all remember the terrible events of Catstrand and Monageer. This is an indispensable service which is being obviously downgraded as a direct result of cuts to the mental health budget last December and the continuing public service staffing moratorium.”

“The Psychiatric Nurses Association estimate that up to 50% of the population will suffer from some form of mental illness at some stage in their lives. Mental health services receive just 4.8% of the national health budget which is well short of the EU average of about 12%. Our mental health budget was 13% in 1984.”

“I would urge the government to make funding available so that the full award winning free drop in service can be returned in County Wexford immediately. Its absence will costs lives, and could lead to another tragedy on the scale of Catstrand or Monageer.”

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