18/02/2016

The reality of Mental Health Services in Ireland

This is a particularily sad and frustrating story that happens to involve Galway University Hospital but is replicated in one form or another up and down the country. We see the fall-out from it every single day in surgery......

When the politicians arrive on your doorstep, please ask them what they plan to do about this.

Courtesy of Broadsheet.ie (original article here)

Eight months ago, I was recommended to stop working with the private therapist I had been seeing for six years, and was put on a waiting list for dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) at the Adult Mental Health Services of Galway University Hospital.

DBT is recognised internationally as being the most effective therapeutic intervention in managing the symptoms of a particularly debilitating mental illness known as borderline personality disorder (BPD), which I was diagnosed with two years ago.

In the last eight months, my situation has gone from barely managed damage limitation, to the point of almost complete mental breakdown. Within three months of finishing with my therapist, I was signed out of work on sick leave as I was no longer able to function effectively. I am regularly suicidal, and self-harm is part of my reality.

When I'm at my worst, however maladaptive it is, it helps me cope. My world has gotten very, very small. I drop my kids to school, I do bits and pieces around the house on the days that I can.

Sometimes I'm able to handle being around people, others I'm not. Those days are particularly tough, those are the ones where I hang on by my fingernails.

But, dragging us through all of this difficulty was the promise of eventually getting onto a treatment programme that would help me to turn it all around.

My family and I have spent the last eight months putting all our hope in DBT. Today, just weeks before the anticipated start date, I've been told that it's not actually going to go ahead at all, because the hospital does not have the resources to provide the programme.

They've lost six out of ten therapists from the DBT team, and they have not been replaced. I don't know where to begin to describe how I feel right now, because the words I have aren't big enough. Angry, disappointed, let down – they don't come close. I'm absolutely gutted.

I always had my doubts as to whether or not DBT would go ahead as I've been fighting with the extremely under resourced public mental health services for years, but I still can't quite believe it has genuinely come to this.

I've waited eight months. I've been told time and again that this is the best thing for me, the only thing that really helps with bpd. To have that hope taken away at the 11th hour is unspeakably cruel.

I realise that this is not my psychiatrist's fault, and I do genuinely believe that she has done everything in her power to make this happen for me, but right now, that does nothing to change the fact that I'm further than I've ever been from getting the help I need.

How is this fair?

We are weeks from an election, and yet services are falling into a worse state than ever before. The therapists who have been lost from the DBT team are not likely to be replaced.

My fear, aside from the obvious impact that not getting DBT will have on me personally, is that the whole programme will just be let slide, will fall way down the list of priorities, and will eventually be dropped.

I'm only one of countless numbers who will be impacted by this, because this goes way beyond the individual. The difficulties of living with and supporting someone struggling with a mental illness are often overlooked, but the impact is very real.

Not getting DBT doesn't just affect me, it affects my entire family.

I wonder do the powers-that-be know the unique sense of utter hopelessness that comes with being told that your last available option is in fact no longer available?

I want to be angry right now, but I can't summon up the energy. I'm swinging so fast between moods and emotions that I'm almost meeting myself on the way back.

One of the key features of BPD is emotional dysregulation, which means we find it very hard to maintain a stable mood and can swing from elation to the depths of depression and back again several times on any given day, never mind a day when I've been hit with such a phenomenal disappointment. It's exhausting. I have a headache from crying and am having to work incredibly hard not to let myself be utterly defeated by this

Mental health services in Ireland are in a state of absolute chaos, there simply aren't the resources available to provide the help that is so desperately needed.

How has it come to this?

How have we reached a point where people with devastating mental illnesses are being told that there is no help available?

Mental illness can kill, and worse, it does kill.

It needs to be taken every bit as seriously as physical illness, and the resources have got to be put back before more lives are lost.

Fiona who lives in Connemara, Co. Galway has clinical depression and borderline personality disorder. She is an Ambassador for See Change, a national movement that tries to improve attitudes towards people with mental health issues, and she blogs here


Recent News Summaries

  • Apr 12 2021

    We are vaccinating our High Risk patients: Contact Us.

    12/04/2021

    Covid 19 Vaccinations for High Risk groups

    It has been a long wait for everyone, but we can finally start preparations for vaccinating our patients in-surgery.

    We don’t know yet when exactly we will get out vaccine delivery, but we are already well advanced in the task of identifying the patients who are next to be vaccinated.

    These will be the patients from the Very High Risk (Cohort 4) and High Risk (Cohort 7) groups.

    Not all of the patients in these groups will be vaccinated in General Practice, with most of the highest risk patients being contacted by Acute Services and called for vaccination in the hospital.

     

     

  • Feb 12 2021

    Covid19 Vaccination Programme

    12/02/2021

    Covid19 Vaccination Programme

    The rollout of Covid19 vaccines for all patients over the age of 70, is due to begin the week of 15th February 2021.

    The first group to be vaccinated will be age over 85, followed by age 80-84, then 75-79, then 70-74.

  • Dec 29 2020

    Covid19 Vaccination Programme

    29/12/2020

    Covid19 Vaccination Programme

  • Dec 24 2020

    Xmas Opening Hours 2020

    24/12/2020

    Xmas Opening Hours 2020

  • Dec 11 2020

    Flu Vaccinations - 13 to 17 year olds

    11/12/2020

    Flu Vaccinations - 13 to 17 year olds

  • Dec 10 2020

    Flu vaccination for Carers

    10/12/2020

    Flu vaccination for Carers.

  • Sep 28 2020

    Influenza Vaccinations 2020

    28/09/2020

    'Flu vaccination 2020/21

    Flu season is here and we are encouraging everyone to get the vaccine.


    Help reduce the potential burden on our hospitals this winter.
    Get the 'Flu vaccine.


    Drop us an email now to book in. The vaccine supplies are arriving tomorrow.


    The HSE has a very useful information page, including information leaflets and videos in a number of languages.

     
    Click HERE or HERE

  • Sep 08 2020

    Some changes for Winter 20/21

    08/09/2020

    Some changes for Winter 20/21

    Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and in keeping with public health guidance, we have had to make some changes to our appointment arrangements in Galway Bay Medical Centre with effect from 7th September 2020.

     

  • Apr 28 2020

    Covid19 - Testing Criteria Update

    28/04/2020

    A quick update on the changes to Covid19 testing guidelines:

    You can now be referred for testing if you are in one or more of the categories for priority testing and meet the testing criteria below.

    If you are not in a priority group we cannot refer you for testing at this time........

  • Mar 30 2020

    What to do for mild Covid19 symptoms

    30/03/2020

    What to do if you have symptoms that don't qualify you for Covid19 testing

    As you will know, GPs can only refer patients for Covid19 tests who fit the current criteria for testing - meaning a fever plus either cough or shortness of breath, along with being in one of the at risk groups.

Page 1 of 9  > >>