How We Failed Ryan Dempsey


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Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald during Leaders’ Questions today

“Tánaiste, I wish, this morning, to raise with you the issue of mental health and suicide prevention. Yesterday, the coroner’s court held an inquest into the death by suicide of a young man in November, 2014.

This man was Ryan Dempsey, from The Liberties.

He was in his 20s, he had his full life ahead of him and he was clearly a young man at risk.

He’d been discharged five times from accident and emergency in a six-month period before his death.”

Taking an overdose, on one occasion, he was brought to the A&E, and was discharged on the same day. Found hanging another time, brought to the A&E, discharged 12 hours later.”

“The following day, he tried to throw himself out of a window, again, brought to the A&E and discharged within hours.”

“On the final occasion, he presented himself to the A&E, he was expressing suicidal feelings. He, Tánaiste, was left in a room by himself, where he attempted to cut himself twice.”

He was then transferred to a ward, left on his own again, and Ryan hanged himself and he died.

“…Tánaiste, we failed Ryan. The health system failed Ryan and how different it all might have been if Ryan was provided with the proper follow-up care on his first presentation.

His family believe that he was not assessed properly, he was not observed properly, his care was inappropriate, inadequate, right up until the time that he took his life.”

“Ryan was failed by the mental health service, which simply does not function at the times when people need it. Accident and Emergency (A&E) is not the right place for people in acute, mental distress.”

“So we need to fund the delivery of community and early intervention services, as was promised ten years ago in Vision For Change. And yet, ten years on, we still don’t have 24/7 crisis intervention services. Not a single crisis house has been established and, at present, there are just 15 suicide crisis intervention nurses in the State.”

“People in distress present themselves to the Gardaí, to the A&E, places where over-stretched and, sometimes, inappropriately trained staff struggle and do their best but they’re not capable of proving the appropriate care.”

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald speaking in the Dáil in the last hour.

Watch today’s Dáil proceedings – the last before the summer recess – live here

46 thoughts on “How We Failed Ryan Dempsey

      1. Falcon Crest

        Many reasons, some of which are :

        SF : votes for swingeing health cuts up North when in power, rail against it down here.

        IRA : kneecappings for some, extrajudicial forced suicide for others.

        MLMD probably has a point but she’s just an opportunist who has backed the wrong horse in SF/IRA.

        Shinnerbots! DEPLOY

        1. Willie Banjo

          That moment when your blind hatred of a political party shreds the last human decency you may possess…..

          1. Falcon Crest

            Read what I said. She probably has a good point. Mental health services and the rest of it are derisory in Ireland. I was just pointing out the inherent hypocrisy in SF’s stance re health budgets. Sorry it went over your head.

          2. Starina

            “probably”? she does. you’re just blinded by hatred of her party. and i’m no SF-er

          1. Falcon Crest

            You’re both good Shinnerbots. Your reward will be an AK and 12 acres of good tillage land.

      1. Falcon Crest

        Nay, I am mere internet troll. Shinners are just too easy to bait. They should have ignored the opening comment, but they just couldn’t help themselves.

        I’ll be back with a different, even more cool username soon. You wait and see!

        1. Paddy

          Glad you cleared that up. And your assumptions about me are way off. My comment above wasn’t a ‘shinner’ reply by the way – looks like you have a bit of a problem or something going on at the moment. Did someone step on your airfix models or something?

          1. Falcon Crest

            I think you misunderstand the simple mission of the internet troll. You replied, I trolled, you lost.

        2. Nigel

          Great, You must be so proud to troll your asinine remarks on a post about a tragic mental health service failure so you can get crapulous kicks. You think you won. Wining this has a value to you. Everybody else would like decent mental health care. You eat crap and smile and like it.

  1. The Real Jane

    This is shocking, It’s difficult to understand how mental health services are not adequately available to people who are having such an acute crisis.

    1. Paddy

      Down to the allocation of resources……money basically. We had a woman and two children drown in Wexford because of lack of resources, help outside of office hours.
      Yet, Francis Fitzgerald reckons that €280m being given to the EU budget doesn’t affect anything.?

  2. Spaghetti Hoop

    A&E departments should really provide a psych consultant for these type of cases. In time it would reduce the number of self-harm incidents at least.

    1. ALisonT

      Yes, but part of the problem is that we have so many A & E departments in this country that most of the specialists would be sitting around waiting for work. We need fewer but bigger and better resourced A & E departments. But this is of course something SF object to.

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        But if mental health services were integrated into the municipal and regional hospitals instead of within little canal-side clinics with appointment-only policies then there would always be a psych team / individual on site.

      2. Paddy

        There are 15 suicide crisis intervention nurses in the State (population 5 million approximately). The quantity and location and working times of these nurses needs to be addressed. Increase the number, pay for overtime when necessary and have them strategically placed countrywide. Once someone presents to an A&E, then one of these qualified people attend. ( always have someone on call).
        You don’t need less and bigger A&Es to address this. You need resources where they’re needed.

        1. The Real Jane

          You would have thought the very centre of the capital city would have at least some resources. This was an acute crisis ongoing for a long period. I mean, it’s hard to imagine a graver situation than someone who is repeatedly attempting suicide. He wasn’t in a hard to access place.

          1. Paddy

            A good friend of mine is a doctor in Edinburgh. They have procedures in place that if someone presents in such a state, the relevant qualified professionals are contacted, and the patient remains on site, accompanied, until the professional attends. Those professionals attend day or night, 7 days a week.

        2. jake38

          “You need resources where they’re needed”.

          Totally true. And totally impossible to do because of the stranglehold the unions have on moving anyone in the public service. Think “disturbance money@. Etc.

          1. The Real Jane

            Oh unions are the worst! Imagine it! People not being completely at the mercy of their employer! Ugh, hate that. Of course mental health professionals should be just chess pieces without lives, homes and families to consider before going to Longford and relocating to Sligo six months later.

          2. jake38

            There really is nothing quite as warming as the public service sense of entitlement, is there?

          3. The Real Jane

            I don’t work in the public service. I do, however, have respect for people who do. It’s odd that you imagine that the only reason why you might consider the lives of the people who do these jobs is self interest.

    2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      Don’t all doctors have to do a psych component in training? And a SHO or similar would be on call elsewhere in hospital surely? Mental health will always be the poor cousin of physical health and until there is parity some clever ways of getting around this would be great – more training for junior doctors in mental health for one

    3. Lorcan Nagle

      I’ve had to bring a close relative to A&E twice in the last 18 months for psychological crises, we spent about 8 hours sitting around both times before managing to see the psychiatrist on duty. And this was in an inner-city Dublin hospital with a large staff.

  3. Tony

    Pieta House have 9 suicide and self harm centres around the country. Free and available to all.

        1. Paddy

          Instead of telling us which groups are on your hate list, maybe tell us which ones you think would be up to dealing with the problem.

      1. Tony

        Well the government simply outsources a lot of these functions to charities and funds many of them as well through various departments. This is the role of NGO’s as their acronym explains. If we want to get rid of NGO’s and bring all these services back to government, thats another story entirely and probably not possible as government would simply not be as effective as grassroots organisations who are closer to the problem.

  4. 15 cents

    if there’s one thing any government this country ever had, doesnt care about .. its the mental health of the people.

    1. Cup of tea anyone?

      if there’s one thing any government this country ever had, doesnt care about .. its the people.

      Fixed that for you.

  5. Scundered

    Hey Mary, at least suicide is someone’s personal and tragic choice, but murder on the other hand…

  6. troll control

    Falcon crest – a troll doesn’t get agitated by ones comments they simply attack & attack. So I guess its back to JSA for you seen as your not capable of fulfilling such a role. “troll”

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