Lack of mental health services in Longford causing undue stress to families

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

Email:

jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Mental health

A concerned Longford mother has claimed her family are under "constant stress" due to a chronic shortage of mental health services in the county.

A Longford mother has said that her family is under “constant stress” as a result of insufficient mental health services in the county.

Responding to a similar case that was first printed in this newspaper three weeks ago, the local woman, who wished to remain anonymous to protect the privacy of her family, said that her son has been ignored by the mental health services in the county for too long.

“It all started at age 10. He was anxious and nervous. He was crying a lot and panicking. And he had a fear of death and of other people dying,” she explained.

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“His behaviour in school changed. He went from being a quiet boy to feeling angry and upset.”

The young boy's teacher applied for an assessment for him when he was in fourth class, but an appointment never came to pass and the child left school two years later having not received the help he needed.

And he didn't find help elsewhere, according to his mother.

“When he was 16, he had a very bad panic attack and we ended up in casualty with him. We were there from about 8.30pm until 10am the next morning,” she said.

Astonishingly, after more than 12 hours waiting to be seen, the family was told that the incident may have been a one-off occurrence.

“The doctor said that it might never happen again, but to come back in if it does.”

The teen suffered several more similar attacks but, to avoid another 12 hour wait in the stressful environment of the emergency room, he did not return to casualty.

“He continued to have these attacks and our GP referred him to St Loman’s. We asked his doctor in Lomen’s if there was anything we can give him to boost his mood and they said no.

“Another doctor referred him to the mental health unit in St Joseph’s Hospital and we asked the doctor there if there was something he could take. The doctor said he’s too young for antidepressants.”

The boy's mother has been under constant stress trying to get the help her son needs but says she has come up against a brick wall with local services and has received no response from local TDs.

The county's failure to provide the proper mental health services to children in a prompt manner has caused a lot of anxiety to her and her family.

“He’s in his early 20s now and his own doctor has him on antidepressants. His mood is so down and he’s not sleeping at night. He says nobody is listening to us.

“It’s causing constant stress for the family,” she concluded.