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The Irish mental health system is a disgrace


Joined
Jun 9, 2007
Messages
19,084
A member of my family has severe bipolar disorder. When he is in mania he is uncontrollable, impossible to deal with, becomes violent and erratic, starting crazy schemes to make billions, open to being ripped off by opportunistic scumbags, a danger to himself and to those around him. I have personally had him committed twice, to save him from being found dead somewhere, and he has been committed twice more. He becomes calm and rational for a while, usually descends into depression and suicidal ideation, then back on the same cycle. Sometimes he doesn't take his meds properly, other times he takes his meds exactly as prescribed but still ends up inside.

When he is in hospital, either the secure unit or else the local hospital unit if he is calm and mannerly, he and the other patients are left to do nothing all day. The secure unit is the worst. There is no structure provided to their days, there are no educational opportunities, no art therapy or musical therapy, no exercise facilities, nothing. They're just left there. The people who work there are fine, often nice people - but their job is basically that of a prison warder. If it's the secure unit then violent prisoners end up there, sometimes threatening him. He was locked in a toilet for four hours once - no-one noticed. He had one other sh1tting in his bed (not out of badness - they just did it). They're basically just left inside to rot all day, in an environment that feels like a Victorian prison. Out of sight, out of mind.

If there were any possible alternative I'd take it. Sometimes he is so out of control that I have no alternative but to have him committed, even though I am sickened by what I know he is going to end up living with for months. In other countries, people with mental health illnesses are put in environments geared towards improving their condition - thoughtful activities, a pleasant environment, opportunities to learn or to exercise. In Ireland it's as if the mental health treatment is designed to make them even worse. It is, I believe, an affront to human dignity, and possibly a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

None of this, to be clear, is a criticism of the individuals who work in these places, they and the doctors do their jobs as diligently as they can. But the system is barbaric, and should be a source of shame to Ireland. If someone got inside one of these units with a camera and filmed the day-to-day life of people in them, there'd be uproar, possibly internationally. There needs to be a complete overhaul of how Ireland treats the mentally ill.
 

Lonewolfe

Well-known member
Joined
May 4, 2011
Messages
17,469
A member of my family has severe bipolar disorder. When he is in mania he is uncontrollable, impossible to deal with, becomes violent and erratic, starting crazy schemes to make billions, open to being ripped off by opportunistic scumbags, a danger to himself and to those around him. I have personally had him committed twice, to save him from being found dead somewhere, and he has been committed twice more. He becomes calm and rational for a while, usually descends into depression and suicidal ideation, then back on the same cycle. Sometimes he doesn't take his meds properly, other times he takes his meds exactly as prescribed but still ends up inside.

When he is in hospital, either the secure unit or else the local hospital unit if he is calm and mannerly, he and the other patients are left to do nothing all day. The secure unit is the worst. There is no structure provided to their days, there are no educational opportunities, no art therapy or musical therapy, no exercise facilities, nothing. They're just left there. The people who work there are fine, often nice people - but their job is basically that of a prison warder. If it's the secure unit then violent prisoners end up there, sometimes threatening him. He was locked in a toilet for four hours once - no-one noticed. He had one other sh1tting in his bed (not out of badness - they just did it). They're basically just left inside to rot all day, in an environment that feels like a Victorian prison. Out of sight, out of mind.

If there were any possible alternative I'd take it. Sometimes he is so out of control that I have no alternative but to have him committed, even though I am sickened by what I know he is going to end up living with for months. In other countries, people with mental health illnesses are put in environments geared towards improving their condition - thoughtful activities, a pleasant environment, opportunities to learn or to exercise. In Ireland it's as if the mental health treatment is designed to make them even worse. It is, I believe, an affront to human dignity, and possibly a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

None of this, to be clear, is a criticism of the individuals who work in these places, they and the doctors do their jobs as diligently as they can. But the system is barbaric, and should be a source of shame to Ireland. If someone got inside one of these units with a camera and filmed the day-to-day life of people in them, there'd be uproar, possibly internationally. There needs to be a complete overhaul of how Ireland treats the mentally ill.
It's one of the services that, sadly, when the country was awash with money received liuttle attention. Now that we're broke I can't see it improving.

The same could be said for other aspects of health service in general.

How long did it take the CF sufferers to get one special unit built at Vincent's?

All through the "Celtic Tiger" nothing was done.
 

Analyzer

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Joined
Feb 14, 2011
Messages
46,201
The purpose of the mental health system in this country is to hide the mess being created by the country's substance abuse problem - which in itself is a reaction to a societal model of authority that unaccountable and dysfunctional.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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Joined
Jan 17, 2011
Messages
50,459
It's one of the services that, sadly, when the country was awash with money received liuttle attention. Now that we're broke I can't see it improving.

The same could be said for other aspects of health service in general.

How long did it take the CF sufferers to get one special unit built at Vincent's?

All through the "Celtic Tiger" nothing was done.
I know I shouldn't, but I find it mildly amusing that the first poster to respond to an OP which mentions bi-polar disorder, is someone who has/had two accounts.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2007
Messages
19,084
Mental institutions appear to be the same the world over.

I have visited St Itas in Portrrane and it was a nightmare. Worked at a few places like it in the UK More nightmares.

More than one flew over the cuckoos nest.
They're not. Even in America, which since Reagan has been a disgrace in leaving the mentally ill to die homeless, when you do get treated you are treated much better - activities, therapy, exercise. I know this because my wife is American and she has a bipolar uncle - he gets treated for free. Several European countries treat mentally ill people properly also, and, for all its faults, even the NHS has a better record nowadays (certainly than it used to).
 

james5001

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Joined
Oct 27, 2009
Messages
11,503
Miriam O'Callaghan did an excellent piece on Prime Time regarding this a good few years ago when FF were on the way out.
It is an absolute disgrace that for all the money spent on stupid and ridiculous schemes during the boom that the most vulnerable in our society have been ignored and pushed to the back corners of society.

The Bertie Bowl plan cost the Irish taxpayer half a Billion euro.
Spending on mental health has dropped from 13% of the overall health budget in 1986 to 6.4% in 2009 and 5.3% in 2010. (mentalhealthreform.ie)

Little has changed in our, and more importantly, politicians attitudes towards the most vulnerable in our society since the foundation of the State. (Apart from a few good politicians and ordinary people fighting to improve services).
 

pippakin

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Feb 22, 2010
Messages
9,665
mental health is the poor relation in many countries. Its not visible or trendy like a cure for all cancers or AIDS. Often there is no cure there is just the plodding certainty that the drugs will overtime have less effect or be forgotten or the next cycle of mania will be more powerful than the drugs.

I can't see it changing anytime soon but I can see some taking advantage of the sufferers or their friends. Its the smug, unthinking way of it.
 

MauriceColgan

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7,674
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www.politicalworld.org
They're not. Even in America, which since Reagan has been a disgrace in leaving the mentally ill to die homeless, when you do get treated you are treated much better - activities, therapy, exercise. I know this because my wife is American and she has a bipolar uncle - he gets treated for free. Several European countries treat mentally ill people properly also, and, for all its faults, even the NHS has a better record nowadays (certainly than it used to).
Oh yes they are.

A few good places do not make up for the thousands of hell holes.
 

Lonewolfe

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Joined
May 4, 2011
Messages
17,469
I know I shouldn't
But why let that stop you

but I find it mildly amusing that the first poster to respond to an OP which mentions bi-polar disorder, is someone who has/had two accounts.
I find it amusing that someone with no interest in the topic posts some shyte anyway just to get a "like" from the clique :lol:
 

aggie_maggie

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Apr 8, 2013
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If you (or your family) can't afford decent health insurance, then you don't deserve to have it.
 

eoghanacht

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Apr 18, 2006
Messages
33,340
Having two siblings with the same disorder I know all to well what the OP is like.

One sibling is relatively well off so can afford to go the semi Private route, St Pat's hospital is the cutting edge of mental health treatment, joke but it is in comparison to the lakeview psyche ward in Naas gen. Hosp.


Very few votes to be got in that area.
 

eoghanacht

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Apr 18, 2006
Messages
33,340
If you (or your family) can't afford decent health insurance, then you don't deserve to have it.
Ah, look another warm hearted philantrope.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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Jan 17, 2011
Messages
50,459
But why let that stop you



I find it amusing that someone with no interest in the topic posts some shyte anyway just to get a "like" from the clique :lol:
I didn't say that I shouldn't post it, I said that I shouldn't find it mildly amusing.

How do you know I have no interest in the topic? Perhaps I have both an interest in and am interested in the topic.

Given, however, that the OP was just a heartfelt rant about a system that a lot of people know to be rotten (but entirely in keeping with the Irish solution to problems...i.e. bury them away from public sight and pretend it doesn't happen - and I can include sending women to England to have abortions, in that, - something TA has strong views on), there's little really to add to the OP.

As for likes...I am not a teenager.
 

Lonewolfe

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May 4, 2011
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17,469
I didn't say that I shouldn't post it, I said that I shouldn't find it mildly amusing.

How do you know I have no interest in the topic? Perhaps I have both an interest in and am interested in the topic.

Given, however, that the OP was just a heartfelt rant about a system that a lot of people know to be rotten (but entirely in keeping with the Irish solution to problems...i.e. bury them away from public sight and pretend it doesn't happen - and I can include sending women to England to have abortions, in that, - something TA has strong views on), there's little really to add to the OP.

As for likes...I am not a teenager.
mmm ... so you just posted to have a pop at me ... and TA? I see. Very good :lol:
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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Messages
50,459
mmm ... so you just posted to have a pop at me ... and TA? I see. Very good :lol:
I didn't have a pop at TA; I pointed out how his OP was a heartfelt rant and that I didn't respond to it because it was symptomatic of the Irish solution to problems.

I didn't have a pop at you either, if you read it carefully. I merely thought it amusing that you were the first to respond to an OP which was based on somebody being bi-polar!
 

The OD

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Joined
Oct 10, 2005
Messages
11,435
If you (or your family) can't afford decent health insurance, then you don't deserve to have it.
I imagine someone who has suffered with a serious mental illness all their lives is in no position to be able to afford decent health insurance. The same could be said for many with serious physical debilitation's and disabilities. Do you think someone who is in this position does not 'deserve' to be treated with dignity and respect?

Should we allow people to die or rot away on the streets?
 

SilverSpurs

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Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
5,550
A member of my family has severe bipolar disorder. When he is in mania he is uncontrollable, impossible to deal with, becomes violent and erratic, starting crazy schemes to make billions, open to being ripped off by opportunistic scumbags, a danger to himself and to those around him. I have personally had him committed twice, to save him from being found dead somewhere, and he has been committed twice more. He becomes calm and rational for a while, usually descends into depression and suicidal ideation, then back on the same cycle. Sometimes he doesn't take his meds properly, other times he takes his meds exactly as prescribed but still ends up inside.

When he is in hospital, either the secure unit or else the local hospital unit if he is calm and mannerly, he and the other patients are left to do nothing all day. The secure unit is the worst. There is no structure provided to their days, there are no educational opportunities, no art therapy or musical therapy, no exercise facilities, nothing. They're just left there. The people who work there are fine, often nice people - but their job is basically that of a prison warder. If it's the secure unit then violent prisoners end up there, sometimes threatening him. He was locked in a toilet for four hours once - no-one noticed. He had one other sh1tting in his bed (not out of badness - they just did it). They're basically just left inside to rot all day, in an environment that feels like a Victorian prison. Out of sight, out of mind.

If there were any possible alternative I'd take it. Sometimes he is so out of control that I have no alternative but to have him committed, even though I am sickened by what I know he is going to end up living with for months. In other countries, people with mental health illnesses are put in environments geared towards improving their condition - thoughtful activities, a pleasant environment, opportunities to learn or to exercise. In Ireland it's as if the mental health treatment is designed to make them even worse. It is, I believe, an affront to human dignity, and possibly a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

None of this, to be clear, is a criticism of the individuals who work in these places, they and the doctors do their jobs as diligently as they can. But the system is barbaric, and should be a source of shame to Ireland. If someone got inside one of these units with a camera and filmed the day-to-day life of people in them, there'd be uproar, possibly internationally. There needs to be a complete overhaul of how Ireland treats the mentally ill.
Two words: Unions and Trade.
 

Mentalist Clientelist

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Joined
Mar 2, 2010
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1,273
A member of my family has severe bipolar disorder. When he is in mania he is uncontrollable, impossible to deal with, becomes violent and erratic, starting crazy schemes to make billions, open to being ripped off by opportunistic scumbags, a danger to himself and to those around him. I have personally had him committed twice, to save him from being found dead somewhere, and he has been committed twice more. He becomes calm and rational for a while, usually descends into depression and suicidal ideation, then back on the same cycle. Sometimes he doesn't take his meds properly, other times he takes his meds exactly as prescribed but still ends up inside.

When he is in hospital, either the secure unit or else the local hospital unit if he is calm and mannerly, he and the other patients are left to do nothing all day. The secure unit is the worst. There is no structure provided to their days, there are no educational opportunities, no art therapy or musical therapy, no exercise facilities, nothing. They're just left there. The people who work there are fine, often nice people - but their job is basically that of a prison warder. If it's the secure unit then violent prisoners end up there, sometimes threatening him. He was locked in a toilet for four hours once - no-one noticed. He had one other sh1tting in his bed (not out of badness - they just did it). They're basically just left inside to rot all day, in an environment that feels like a Victorian prison. Out of sight, out of mind.

If there were any possible alternative I'd take it. Sometimes he is so out of control that I have no alternative but to have him committed, even though I am sickened by what I know he is going to end up living with for months. In other countries, people with mental health illnesses are put in environments geared towards improving their condition - thoughtful activities, a pleasant environment, opportunities to learn or to exercise. In Ireland it's as if the mental health treatment is designed to make them even worse. It is, I believe, an affront to human dignity, and possibly a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

None of this, to be clear, is a criticism of the individuals who work in these places, they and the doctors do their jobs as diligently as they can. But the system is barbaric, and should be a source of shame to Ireland. If someone got inside one of these units with a camera and filmed the day-to-day life of people in them, there'd be uproar, possibly internationally. There needs to be a complete overhaul of how Ireland treats the mentally ill.

That's it. Blame the State. Nice 'n' easy.
 

statsman

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Joined
Feb 25, 2011
Messages
56,230
A member of my family has severe bipolar disorder. When he is in mania he is uncontrollable, impossible to deal with, becomes violent and erratic, starting crazy schemes to make billions, open to being ripped off by opportunistic scumbags, a danger to himself and to those around him. I have personally had him committed twice, to save him from being found dead somewhere, and he has been committed twice more. He becomes calm and rational for a while, usually descends into depression and suicidal ideation, then back on the same cycle. Sometimes he doesn't take his meds properly, other times he takes his meds exactly as prescribed but still ends up inside.

When he is in hospital, either the secure unit or else the local hospital unit if he is calm and mannerly, he and the other patients are left to do nothing all day. The secure unit is the worst. There is no structure provided to their days, there are no educational opportunities, no art therapy or musical therapy, no exercise facilities, nothing. They're just left there. The people who work there are fine, often nice people - but their job is basically that of a prison warder. If it's the secure unit then violent prisoners end up there, sometimes threatening him. He was locked in a toilet for four hours once - no-one noticed. He had one other sh1tting in his bed (not out of badness - they just did it). They're basically just left inside to rot all day, in an environment that feels like a Victorian prison. Out of sight, out of mind.

If there were any possible alternative I'd take it. Sometimes he is so out of control that I have no alternative but to have him committed, even though I am sickened by what I know he is going to end up living with for months. In other countries, people with mental health illnesses are put in environments geared towards improving their condition - thoughtful activities, a pleasant environment, opportunities to learn or to exercise. In Ireland it's as if the mental health treatment is designed to make them even worse. It is, I believe, an affront to human dignity, and possibly a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

None of this, to be clear, is a criticism of the individuals who work in these places, they and the doctors do their jobs as diligently as they can. But the system is barbaric, and should be a source of shame to Ireland. If someone got inside one of these units with a camera and filmed the day-to-day life of people in them, there'd be uproar, possibly internationally. There needs to be a complete overhaul of how Ireland treats the mentally ill.
It's a sad story, and one that could have been told at pretty much any stage in the history of the state. I worked at a menial weekend job in St Brendan's in the early 1970s ant the place was a cross between a concentration camp and a Fellini film set; absolutely disgraceful. There has been a good deal of lip-service paid to the betterment of mental health care in the state since then, but most change has been purely cosmetic.
 
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