“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.