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Wednesday, 23rd September 2020

Councillors express concerns over mental health services following recent suicides

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The HSE's Psychiatric Unit at Cross Lanes, Drogheda.

Mental Health chief to be asked to attend next Council meeting

The General Manager of HSE Mental health Services in the CHO Area 8, (Laois/Offaly, Longford/Westmeath, Louth/Meath), is to be asked to attend an ‘in camera’ meeting of Louth County Council to discuss the provision of mental health services within County Louth.

This move comes after a joint motion by Councillors Maeve Yore and Seán Kelly was passed at the monthly meeting of Louth County Council on Monday.

“I have grave concerns about how services are being run locally and when you look at the national figures in 2019 we lost 317 males and 104 females to suicide in this country” Councillor Yore said.

“We need a proper plan and pathway for people who find themselves in mental difficulty, not a system that fails and turns away people at their most vulnerable point.”

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Councillors Maeve Yore and Seán Kelly.

In his contribution Councillor Kelly focused on two local families and their tragic experience trying to access services at the HSE's psychiatric Unit at Cross Lanes in Drogheda.

He spoke about what he described as the “lack of engagement” they experienced when their two loved ones, one a man  in his fifties and the other a much younger man, when they attempted to be admitted to Crosslanes, often with referrals from their GPs, stating their life was in imminent danger. Both men subsequently took their own lives.

“The service was not there when they most needed it” Councillor Kelly said and described the sense of desperation and helplessness the men and their families faced and as a result.

“We need answers, not just for these families but to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We are letting our people down, it’s heart-breaking to witness” Kelly said.

The two Councillors hope that this meeting with the local mental health chief will take place at either the November or December Council meeting.

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