Monday 18 December 2017

'I'm broken-hearted' - Dad (70) in plea for help after taking protection order against adult son with mental health problems

Frank had to take a protection order out against his son

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A 70-year-old man whose son has mental health problems has said he is "broken-hearted" after having to take out a protection order against his son.

The man, named Frank, spoke to Joe Duffy on RTE Radio One's Liveline, about his family trouble and said he is at a loss at what to do to get his son, who is 40, help.

He is frustrated at the lack of services available to his adult son.

Frank's son was diagnosed last year with paranoid schizophrenia and has been hospitalised twice. Recently his son stepped out in front of a car.

Last week Frank had to call gardaí to remove his son from his home.

"I didn't feel safe in the home with the verbal and psychological abuse... so I got a protection order," he said.

"He was taken away last week. He got very angry and got aggressive and was banging things and trying to injure himself. I didn't know if he was going to try and injure me or what."

The gardaí took his son from the home in handcuffs.

"I feel broken hearted... to have to do something like that. I've cried my eyes out since," he said.

He is now in the city centre and his dad believes he is in a B&B.

His son recently called to say he got a "bang of car" and Frank believes his son deliberately walked out in front of the car.

"He does be sending me messages saying he is going to do these things and he done it this time," Frank said.

His son was brought to hospital where he given stitches but he was not seriously injured.

He is taking medication for his illnesses but Frank said that his son's symptoms flare up every so often and, while Frank praised the hospital staff and gardaí who have dealt with his son, he feels more should be done for him.

The worried dad frets about the future when he is no longer around to look out for him.

His son has fallen out with other family members and does not have friends.

Frank was recently widowed and he said his late wife was a companion for his son.

"She was better at handling it," he said.

Now on top of grieving for his late wife, he said the situation with his son beginning to cause him to pull away from his own support systems:

"I'm beginning to isolate myself from a lot of the, I'm getting withdrawn myself and feeling what's the point in continuing on?"

"I know they're doing the best but it's terrible that I can't get him into some kind of a programme... but I need help now," he said.

"I'm at the end of my tether... I feel like I've nothing, that I've worn out everything I can try and do for him. I know that the services that are there are good but they are not sufficient," he said.

Host Joe Duffy urged Frank not to withdraw from his support systems and to try to realise he is not his son's only hope.

"You're not his last hope and you're not his only hope," the broadcaster told him.

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