We have a crisis in this county says TD Browne
The mental health service in County Wexford and elsewhere in the country is 'beyond dysfunctional', according to the newly appointed Fianna Fáil frontbench spokesman on mental health, James Browne of Enniscorthy.
Deputy Browne, pictured, said the service is 'in crisis' and is failing the users, their families and society.
He said: 'The HSE is practising graveside medicine - only at the point where someone is going to die do they do anything at all,' he said.
The Fianna Fáil TD said there is a two-year assessment waiting list for child and adolescent mental health services in the county . 'If you have a three year old who has experienced a trauma, they will be at least five before they are seen by CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) and that is just for assessment.'
'Once you are assessed you are entitled to services but the services are not there,' he said.
'If you have a six- or seven-year-old who needs support in school, you will be referred to CAMHS because the Department of Education doesn't have psychologists. CAMHS will give an assessment but they won't advise what help a child should receive in school because they say it's the function of the Department of Education.'
Deputy Browne said Co. Wexford has no emergency access for mental health patients outside of normal working hours.
'A Wexford person can't go directly to A&E in Waterford. If you are experiencing suicidal ideation or are self-harming, you must go to A&E in Wexford General Hospital where you could be waiting five hours.
'A triage nurse will assess you to see if you qualify for a proper mental health assessment in Waterford where you could then be waiting for another four or five hours.
'The facilities in Waterford are under massive pressure with doctors having to decide whether you are high enough priority to be admitted.'
The Mental Health Spokesman said an Accident and Emergency department of a hospital is not a suitable place for someone experiencing an acute psychotic episode or suicidal tendencies.
'An A&E department is a stressful place at the best of times. For people suffering acute mental distress, it just adds to the stress, especially if you have to go to two of them.'
Deputy Browne said there is a very high walk-out rate in A&E units in Ireland and the percentage that are mental health patients warranted investigation.