Ferris Calls For Adequate Resources for Children in Crisis

Sinn Féin TD, Martin Ferris – the HSE  advised the government that there was bed availability in the Sliabh Mish Unit at UHK and it wanted ‘all options within our own services have been explored sufficiently.’ ©Photographs: John Reidy

Speaking in the Dáil this week under Topical Issues, Kerry Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris highlighted the cases of two Kerry teenagers in crisis.

In the course of his contribution Deputy Ferris referred to the contents of the RTE One broadcast, The Big Picture.

HSE Refused Treatment Fund

“A friend and constituent of mine, Daniella Russell, from my home village of Ardfert was featured on that programme,” said Mr. Ferris.

“Her mother Joyce has been forced by this state to bring her daughter to England to be treated because the HSE refuse to fund treatment in a specialised facility in Dublin.

“Last week on the day before the programme aired, you Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, told me in an email that ‘Daniellas mother has requested referral to Lois Bridges, a private unit in Dublin which offers alternative forms of treatment for eating disorders.

Bed Availability

“However the HSE has advised that there is currently bed availability in the Sliabh Mish Unit, and wish to ensure that all options within our own services have been explored sufficiently.’

“Now this girl is skin and bone and is very lucky to still be alive. Our own services, unfortunately, which have already been explored have been proven to be blatantly unfit to serve people like Daniella.”

Suicidal 17 Year Old

“Just yesterday my office was contacted by the mother of another 17 year old girl from Kerry who has just been released from University Hospital Kerry after trying to take her own life for the second time.

“A request was made last June, nearly 12 months ago now, for funding to start DBT Therapy. Ashamedly, to date this has not been approved. Her 15 year old brother like so many other siblings of those with mental health problems is terrified he will come home to find that his sister has succeeded in taking her own life.

Anxiety and Pressure

“The anxiety and pressure faced by these siblings is naturally another source of huge concern for already overburdened and anxious parents.

“Last year in an independent survey of parents, who accessed CAMHS only 18% of respondents were satisfied with the service overall.

No Reflection on Staff

A total of 23 of the 177 respondents willing to recommend the service (NPS score of -68.9). Only 32% of respondents feel the service was beneficial for their child.

This is not a reflection on the dedication or professionalism of staff but is an indictment of successive governments and their under resourcing of the mental health budget,” Mr. Ferris concluded.


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