herald

Friday 15 December 2017

More must be done for mentally ill

A FATHER has told how he lost his teenage son and wife in the space of six months.

One died from a rare cancer, the other by suicide. Seamus Rooney feels his son Colm's death could not be prevented, but says health authorities failed his mentally ill wife, Anne

She suffered from depression, but he says doctors believed that her illness was due to grief and that she was not actually suicidal.

He says he was told there were 3,000 people who needed psychiatric help in his area but only 22 public beds.

Mr Rooney says she spent three days in hospital, but was then sent home and he could not afford to pay for a private clinic.

This year, mental health services face a 1pc budget cut, including inpatient beds, although the HSE says extra staff will be recruited in key areas.

We must do all we can, even given the severe budgetary restraints, to support people who are at risk of harming themselves.

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