The Kilkenny Consumer Panel for Mental Health, a group of concerned service users, family members and staff in the local mental health service have decided they cannot stand by as €12 million is cut from Mental Health.
They have organised a petition to sign at City Hall on Friday from 1pm to 3pm to register theur disaproval of what is happening.
“Mental Health is a part of who we are. We could not remain silent when we know first-hand the pressures faced by people every day in an underfunded service.’ said Gina Delaney, Vice Chair of the group.
The Government are moving €12 million from the Mental Health budget into other parts of the Health Service - this money was ring-fenced for Mental Health in October and moving it elsewhere at this point is more than just disheartening to the general public who use the services, it is dangerous.
A lack of funding and staffing has serious implications on service users, on the family, on staff, and on the service. Multi-Disciplinary Teams are under resourced, a number of consultant posts still remain unfilled and there is just one Family Therapist for Kilkenny.
The Department of Psychiatry is working at capacity, with forty four beds serving people in need of this support across Kilkenny, Carlow and South Tipperary.
“Without funding to fill vacant posts we will still be here having the same discussion this time next year. Government need to fill these posts so that people are getting the support they need to recover as well and as fast as possible’, said Ms Delaney.
Community Support is under pressure; there is a lack of Occupational Therapists and Social Workers, people are on waiting lists to have appointments to help make life in the community more manageable. Without counselling, psychology and CBT people are struggling to cope. Families are trying to support their loved one when they are in need of as much support themselves in the aftermath of a hospitalisation or other trauma relating to their loved ones difficulty.
Despite the many pressures that staff meet due to being under resourced, there are many positive areas that deserve recognition such as the Community Meetings where people in hospital can discuss concerns and issues they are facing.