Psychotherapist shortage slammed

PUBLICATION: IRISH Psychotherapist shortage slammed[Posted: Fri 08/06/2007]

The lack of psychotherapists in our mental health services has been slammed by Dan Neville, Fine Gael TD and Chairman of the Irish Association for Suicidology.Mr Neville pointed out that 83% of psychiatrists did not have a psychotherapist available to them.Speaking at the National Conference of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy in Dublin, he said there was an urgent need to establish multidisciplinary community psychiatric services, as first recommended 22 years ago in a Department of Health report and again last year in the new ‘Vision for Change’ strategy plan.Mr Neville said it was universally accepted that psychology input is vitally important in dealing with mental illness.

Dr Brion Sweeney, Chairman of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy, said that provision of psychotherapy in Ierland is largely limited to the private sector. And there is little or no provision of psychotherapy for public patients, apart from a very small number of key posts, the majority of which are in childrens’ hospitals.

He said it had been shown that most people who attempt or commit suicide never have any contact with mental health services and are most likely to have visited their GP in the month prior to the suicide.Dr Sweeney added that young men, who are the group moist vulnerable to suicide, are unwilling to access the necessary support.