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"Psychiatric service and telephonic communication"

About: Sligo General Hospital / Psychiatry Sligo/Leitrim Mental Health Services / Sligo Adult Community Mental Health Services

(as a parent/guardian),

I am a mother of a 25-year-old son who has battled with mental health issues since the age of 16. We left his home country and familiar Dr's and integrated services and a healthy support system so I could come and take care of my aging father. He could not stay behind and had to come with me for safety's sake having spent periods of feeling so depressed he was suicidal. It took an extremely long time to get a first apt - all the while I was relying on a GP and scripted medications from his home country Dr. 5months later we got an appointment. This was a happy point as we could get a proper script. Covid had its part to play in that this was the only physical apt he had. There was a couple of telephonic calls surrounding upkeep of medications from myself to the team. Suddenly after 18th months a call apt was made. A locum Dr apparently told my son that he was now discharged from the system. There was panic, stress and concern about who made this decision. Why was he not seen face to face to discuss this and how was this made via a telephone call from someone who was a locum and had never met my son? No explanation or support.

Next part of the journey was trying to get hold of this department. I note that while I was trying to make contact 'the telephone land lines had accidentally dug up by a digger while doing other service interventions'. That was approx. 5 months ago. They are still NOT repaired. The land line number is still on the web as the correct number and not even a voice message to redirect. I made contact with another mental health department, and they gave me the same non-functional number! So back and forth eventually managed to get a cellular contact number. This is as I understand it a personal number and have to say a huge thank you to that person for supplying this number and making contact possible. However, this is NOT an acceptable service plan and, in my opinion, falls very short of what any professional would expect, and the public should be party to accept.  Can you imagine how many mentally stressed persons who maybe do not have the resources or family support that have tried to make contact during this time? 

I made many calls and conversations and some extraordinary helpful and understanding people within the journey and eventually via a GP request a response was given and an apt made. As a public service I was totally shocked at the fact that it is I being the one making all the contact and no "pro-active" integrated approach for my son.

Firstly, I really think it is so embarrassing as a mature mother trying to get her son or anybody a Dr's appointment that it feels like I had to beg and grovel and prove again and again that there was a need and why was he just so inhumanly discharged. I felt like I had no control over his well-being, and it was just somewhere a dysfunctional system lost and nobody cared. 

Finally, a private GP wrote a referral and managed to get an appointment. 

Having come from a place that might be considered a lower country in relation to Ireland I have been encouraged with some people in the mental health care facilities mostly who form part of the back office and admin side of things and their dedication to helping and responding. I have been greatly saddened on the lack of support or insight and care shown from the clinical side and Dr's involved who have been not present or supportive or therapeutic in anyway during his 2year journey.

The phone line needs to be repaired. At best a recorded message on the non-functional line stating that and a contact number that is available.

Pro-active integrated services should be the norm. The patient should not be the one driving his or her care entirely. 

Communication is key. Link the services digitally and have web access for the patients. 

I look forward to feedback and am available if there is room for discussion and am pushing for solutions to enhance the badly greased wheel. 

Thank you.

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Responses

Response from Martin Jones, Alcohol & Substance Misuse Service Manager, Sligo Leitrim Mental Health Services, Health Service Executive last month
Martin Jones
Alcohol & Substance Misuse Service Manager, Sligo Leitrim Mental Health Services,
Health Service Executive

Manage the Sligo / Leitrim Alcohol & Substance Misuse Service

Submitted on 01/11/2022 at 17:57
Published on Care Opinion at 17:57


picture of Martin Jones

Dear LeeLee,

I am sorry to read that you felt let down and frustrated when trying to access help for your son, although I am encouraged by some of the more positive interactions you have had with staff, particularly where you felt they had been very helpful. I will make sure that the relevant departments are aware of your story and your experiences in the hope that there will be a greater awareness in the future and the possibility of learning.

I wish you and your son all the best.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful
Response from Martin Jones, Alcohol & Substance Misuse Service Manager, Sligo Leitrim Mental Health Services, Health Service Executive 4 weeks ago
Martin Jones
Alcohol & Substance Misuse Service Manager, Sligo Leitrim Mental Health Services,
Health Service Executive

Manage the Sligo / Leitrim Alcohol & Substance Misuse Service

Submitted on 08/11/2022 at 16:36
Published on Care Opinion at 16:36


picture of Martin Jones

Dear LeeLee,

I have discussed your story with my colleagues in Sligo/Leitrim Mental Health Service and we wondered which part of the service you and your son had been in contact with? If you would like, I would be happy to meet you, as there are a number of issues you describe and it might be easier to address that way. It is entirely up to you, but if you would like to contact me to arrange to discuss this, my email is martin.jones@hse.ie or my mobile is 086 022 6972.

with Kind Regards,

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