‘Semantic Confusion Also Plays Its Part’


Cloverhill Prison

Your editorial (July 10th) on the lack of accommodation for forensic psychiatric patients must be welcomed, in so far as any mention is better than none at all.

However, by simultaneously drawing attention to the generic areas of “mental health issues” and “mental health problems”, you manage to fudge (not for the first time in your paper) the core difficulty.

This remains the failure, at the highest level, to prioritise the treatment of patients with severe and enduing mental illness.

Hence the scandal of inadequate State provision for persons who are acutely mentally ill, whether in prison or elsewhere.

The reasons for this failure are many and complex.

However, semantic confusion also plays its part, and it is regrettable to find Ireland’s leading newspaper being so beguiled.

Michael Mulcahy,
Consultant Psychiatrist,
Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Acute mental illness services (The Irish Times letters page)