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"Mental health services"

About: Donegal Mental Health Services

(as the patient),

I’ve been under the care of the community mental health team since 2016. It seemed that nobody was ever interested in getting to the bottom of my issues and just put it down to “anxiety and depression”. But I knew there was so much more going on for me and that my anxiety and depression were symptoms of something else.

I suspected ADHD, and had suspected for many years that that was the cause of many issues in my life. This wasn’t really taken into serious consideration by anyone who I came across in the mental health services. I was just repeatedly medicated for depression and anxiety and found little to no benefits from the majority of things I was prescribed. In 2020, I went privately for assessment with a psychologist and I got a very conclusive diagnosis of ADHD.  When I then went back to the psychiatrist for medication, at first I didn’t feel I was taken seriously at all and felt very dismissed.

Eventually, after practically having to beg, I was told I’d be referred to the adult ADHD unit in Sligo for assessment, but that could take months. I submitted my psychologist report and diagnosis for review and in the end, it was accepted as a diagnosis. Still waiting on a follow up for medication to begin. I feel that ADHD in adults isn’t taken seriously at all by the public health system. It can be a very debilitating condition to have and without the right support, counselling and medication, it can be unbearable to live with at times.

I had spent over a year (2018) in counselling/therapy at the mental health day hospital, attending once a week with a nurse therapist. While it was very beneficial for me to process some long held problems and traumas, I feel that much of that time could have been so much better spent on focused CBT for ADHD had I been taken seriously in the first place and been assessed back then. ADHD needs to be taken as seriously as any other disorder - autism, dyslexia, bipolar, etc.  I feel that mental health professionals dont fully believe in ADHD when it is one of the most researched mental disorders on the planet - it’s not the tooth fairy. People with ADHD need to be seen, need to be heard and need to be treated so they can live successfully with their condition. 

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Response from Maura Finnegan, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Donegal Psychology Dept, Donegal Mental Health Services 2 years ago
Maura Finnegan
Principal Clinical Psychologist, Donegal Psychology Dept,
Donegal Mental Health Services
Submitted on 04/01/2022 at 11:14
Published on Care Opinion on 05/01/2022 at 08:50

Dear ADHD and me,

I am sorry that your journey to getting a diagnosis has taken some time. In January 2021 the HSE launched ADHD in Adults National Clinical Programme and the service you referenced in Sligo, is one of the pilot sites for this programme. It is a developing area within adult mental health services in Ireland. Thank you for your feedback also of your more positive experience within the mental health service day hospital.


Maura Finnegan, Principal Clinical Psychologist, HSE Donegal

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