Thursday 19 September 2019

Wexford campaigner meets with Senator Joan Freeman on CAMHS crisis

Raymond Shannon and Senator Joan Freeman
Raymond Shannon and Senator Joan Freeman

Pádraig Byrne

The crisis within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Wexford came up for discussion in the illustrious surroundings of Leinster House this week as a local mental health advocate arrived for a frank discussion.

Raymond Shannon of Wexford Mental Health Warriors made the journey to Dublin to meet with Senator Joan Freeman in a bid to highlight just how bad things have gotten for young people seeking assistance in the south of the county.

'Joan just got in touch with me the week before and invited me up for a chat,' Raymond explained.

'She has a background in mental health and she's doing her best to highlight the lack of services. I showed her some of the photos of the conditions that teenagers were being kept in down in Waterford (in adult psychiatric services, because there was nowhere else for them) and she was horrified by it.'

'It was a positive meeting though and I think the plan is that we're going to meet up again to discuss some of the figures and iron things out a bit further. Joan says she has raised the CAMHS crisis in Wexford South with Leo Varadkar and that she has a bill going through which will stop children being placed in adult psychiatric units definitively,' he said.

The Wexford Mental Health Warriors have maintained a constant presence in South Wexford following the resignation of Dr Kieran Moore over a year ago, citing inappropriate working conditions and under-staffing as being major issues. The group says that while the CAMHS manager in Wexford retired last week, a replacement is already lined up, while there is no replacement for Dr Moore a year on.

The most recent of these protests took place on Tuesday of last week when members of the group were joined by local councillors Tom Forde and Leonard Kelly as well as Fianna Fáil spokesperson for mental health James Browne, who has raised the issue of CAMHS in his home county in the Dáil on several occasions.

'We got a good reaction again,' Raymond said.

'We've vowed to continue until things change. It's 12 months since Kieran Moore resigned. There's still no word on the new facility at Arden House which was supposed to open this month.'

Gorey Guardian