20 May 2022

Kildare Deputy: Arranging treatment for those suffering from eating disorders must be improved


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A Kildare Deputy TD has told Dáil Éireann that arranging treatment for those suffering from eating disorders must be "enhanced."

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asks the Minister for Health to discuss the need to enhance availability of mental health services for children and adults with eating disorders.

The Fine Gael TD's topic of discussion was one of the Topical Issues selected by the Ceann Comhairle this morning.

Deputy Durkan explained his concerns to The Leinster Leader: "Its an issue of the most critical importance."

"Sadly the lack of adequate bed accommodation, appropriate treatment courses and general back up is causing huge trauma for the patients, the families and siblings of people who have mental health conditions arising from eating disorders or in some cases, addictions."

He continued: "It is impossible to source the appropriate treatment in the shortest possible time resulting in parents having to attend in hospitals, in many cases throughout the night, in order to try and ensure that their child receive the appropriate mental health treatment.

Similarly, adolescents and young adults, previously diagnosed with a mental health issue, face huge difficulties in obtaining treatment, particularly if they happen to have an addiction.

Again, their families valiantly strive to obtain treatment for them and give them every support but the fact that the mental health services and supports has not grown in line with the need leaves some patients ending up in Court or in prison, again due to the lack of adequate and available supports."

He concluded: "I am strongly of the opinion that prison is not the correct location to treat mental health patients, some of whom can be predisposed towards suicide and I therefore believe that the immediate response must be addressing the deficiencies in child and adult mental health services in the shortest possible time."

Deputy Durkan's comments follow the release of recent statistics under the Freedom of Information Act, which show that the eating disorder anorexia affects more girls than boys.

It also found that a total of 121 children under the age of 16 being hospitalised with the condition last year.

Deputy Durkan was recently named as one of the wealthiest TDs in the country in The Irish Independent’s Political Rich List, which established there are 68 millionaires in the Dáil.

It was based on a detailed examination of the value of their properties, land, businesses, shareholdings and pensions.

The Leinster Leader reached out to him for comment on this news, but he has yet to respond.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call Samaritans Ireland at 116 123 or email, or you can find helpful resources on the official website of Bodywhys, the Eating Disorders Association of Ireland, by clicking here.

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