Local Fianna Fáil Senator and Seanad Group Leader, Catherine Ardagh has called on the Minister of State for Mental Health, Helen McEntee to reverse the decision to close 11 of the 22 beds in the Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service facility at Cherry Orchard Hospital, Dublin which are due to close early next month.

The inpatient Child and Adolescents Unit, which opened in 2015, cares for young people under 18 years of age suffering with mental health problems or psychiatric disorders. Eleven of the facility’s 22 beds are due to close for up to three months due to a shortage of nursing staff as 50% of nursing posts remain unfilled.

Commenting in the Seanad, Senator Ardagh said, “we are now a full decade on from the publication of ‘A Vision for Change’, where the government set out its strategy for the provision of mental health services and laid out the guidelines for best practice, and yet we still have not seen full implementation.

“This decision will have a major impact on the already under pressure mental health services in the greater Dublin area. We have a dangerous situation now where children who have been diagnosed as unwell, and who are at serious risk of self-harm are being discharged back to their homes and causing risk to themselves due to this staffing shortage.

“Placing children in adult facilities is not the answer. Forcing these young vulnerable people to attend adult psychiatry units is hugely inappropriate and insensitive.

“The Minister must do more to provide a solution to the staffing crisis in acute mental health and throughout the health service,” concluded Senator Ardagh.