Friday 23 February 2018

Patients should get immediate access to counselling, says singer with MS

Darragh McGann (43) sought counselling support after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis
Darragh McGann (43) sought counselling support after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A singer whose work was praised by Marlon Brando and George Martin has hit out at the delay people diagnosed with serious illnesses face in getting support through counselling.

Darragh McGann (43) was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) - and has admitted he was left reeling by the news.

Despite asking for counselling, Mr McGann was told he could face a wait of up to three months for an appointment.

"Getting any type of diagnosis - regardless of how serious it may be - and indeed waiting for that diagnosis, for me was a very anxious time, and I am certain it is the same for everyone else," he said.

"The not knowing what is wrong or why you feel the way you feel - these are all ingredients that can lead to or manifest themselves with anxiety or panic attacks: fear for the future, how will you cope?

"I spoke to my GP about going for counselling, as I am not a huge fan of medication, and he agreed with me that it would be very beneficial for me to talk with a counsellor.

Read more: 'My illness is not a lifestyle choice - but HSE won't offer help'

"He very kindly gave me some contact numbers and also made a referral on my behalf. I made contact with three different counselling service providers and they all said the soonest I could speak to anyone would be the end of January.

"Mental health does not always present itself in a manner that will support the use of a calendar to book a time to seek help."

Mr McGann said people with life-changing illnesses should be provided with immediate access to a counsellor. "It is simply not good enough to expect people to talk these things through with their family or with a nurse and doctor at the hospital, who are usually already run off their feet," he said.

Irish Independent

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