Mental Health Warriors hail success of their campaign to overturn closure

By Maurice Garvey 

A DECISION to overturn the closure of mental health services for young people in Cherry Orchard Hospital has been hailed by activists as a success.

The HSE closed the Linn Dara CAHMS day services programme on July 6 due to staffing shortages.

Linn Dara protest

People protesting outside Linn Dara last month 

Although the day programme was due to re-open in autumn, it led to protests outside the facility by local activist group Mental Health Warriors.

Cherry Orchard resident Lisa Palmer, a key member of the protest group, received confirmation on Monday from the Department of Health, that it is expected that the day programme will re-open in September or October.

“The pressure on authorities helped,” said Ms Palmer.

“The main problem is higher up in the organisation of the HSE. They are not paying nurses enough and are trying to mix around staff.

“The funding is there. I think there will have to be a major focus on mental health services. The hope is that this will be maintained now.”

Palmer also welcomed the in-patient beds remaining at its 22 capacity at the hospital, after that too saw a temporary culling last year, with 11 beds closed for five months.

The letter to Ms Palmer from the Department of Health on behalf of Minister of State Jim Daly, states the decision to suspend the day programme was due to “psychiatry and allied health professional temporary staffing shortages” within community sectors.

Staff were re-assigned from the adolescent day programme to maintain other key community-based Linn Dara services.

However, young people scheduled to attend the day programme, continue to attend existing community CAHMS teams in the catchment area.

The department said the in-patient unit will remain fully operational as normal with 22 beds available as well as functioning community teams.

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