Sunday 18 August 2019

'What the f**k is that all about?' - Majella O'Donnell launches no-holds barred tirade over '€300 per hour' psychiatrists' fee

Majella O’Donnell. Picture: Andres Poveda
Majella O’Donnell. Picture: Andres Poveda

Stephen Maguire

Majella O'Donnell has launched a no-holds barred attack on mental health professionals and the prices they charge for their services.

The wife of singer Daniel O'Donnell has spoken openly of her battle with depression in the past and how she considered ending her own life.

But now she has launched a stinging attack on GPs and other health professionals after a friend, who is suffering from symptoms of depression, was told she could not be seen by a mental health professional until February.

Majella, 56, said she feels angry, frustrated, annoyed and disgusted by what has happened to her friend.

She said: "My friend is a young mother who has been feeling anxious, unmotivated, irritated and generally depressed. She is aware of it and has been on anti-depressants in the past.

"She is also aware of the fact that it is negatively affecting her relationships.

"She wanted to get to the bottom of why she feels this way.

"She phoned a psychiatrist to see if she could talk to someone professional and was told that, a) she would have to be referred by her GP, b) she wouldn't be seen until at least February, and c) it would cost her €300 an hour for the psychiatrist."

Majella then launched a furious tirade that revealed her anger at her friend's situation.

She exploded: "What the f**k is that all about? I get so bloody angry at this kind of thing. Here is a young woman realising that she has a problem and is trying to do something positive about it and this is what the outcome is.

"She went back to her GP who once again prescribed anti-depressants, a stronger one this time, and that's it.

"She doesn't really want to take them as she would like to understand why she feels the way she does but she feels she has no choice.

"I can accept that a GP needs to refer you but what really p***es me off is the fact that no one could see her until at least February but that doesn't really matter because she could never afford the €300 per hour fee that is being charged. €300 per hour! What the f**k is that all about? It is shameful."

Majella said there were free advice services around Ireland doing wonderful work but there was a serious shortage of psychiatrists.

And she added: "How dare anyone charge that kind of money to help another human being who is in a desperate situation?

"That sort of fee cannot be justified .

"We have wonderful support groups around the country like Pieta House, Aware, Mental Health Ireland, Grow and lots more but we need, as a country, to sort this problem with accessing psychiatrists."

Sunday Independent

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