Overview and Context
Mental health issues are fairly common. Over 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health issues in their lifetime (Connecting for Life). In 2016, while around 70% did not report experiencing depression, 19% reported experiencing mild depression and 6% reported experiencing moderate depression. Census 2016 reported that a total of 7,205 people in South Dublin reported having a psychological or emotional condition.
Young people experience mental health problems more often than adults. In 2015, young people in Dublin (15 – 24 years) where almost twice as likely to experience and report a probable mental health problem, than adults over 24 years old, according to the Healthy Ireland survey.
In relation to suicide, South Dublin County has lower rates than the national average for males in the last three years where data is available and for females for two of the last three years. South Dublin County has the third lowest suicide rate head for 100,000 of the population for males and the eight lowest for females. Females in South Dublin County although less likely to commit suicide than males rank higher than their male counterparts when compared with other local authorities.
In relation to self-harm, the Dail electoral divisions Dublin South West and Dublin West, which together represent the South Dublin County area, had some of the highest rates in the Country. In 2016 Dublin South West continues to have the highest rate of self-harm nationally for women. Dublin South West has the third highest rate of self-harm nationally for men. There has been an increase in rates of self-harm in South Dublin County alongside a decrease in Dublin City. In 2016, 10.7% of individuals presenting to hospital for self-harm in Ireland were living in South Dublin County.
NSRF data indicates that the areas of South Dublin County most likely to engage in self-harming behaviour. Clondalkin and Tallaght South & Central are above the national rate by the largest margins for all of the five years for which data was available. Illustrated in Figure 5.
In relation to CAMHS waiting times, South Dublin is on par with the national average. In CHO Area 7, 60.8% of accepted referrals were offered a first appointment and seen within 12 weeks by CAMHS, which is very close to the national average of 61.4%. (Health Service Executive Performance Reports Sept 2017).
The following issues have been raised through stakeholder interviews and focus groups and were then endorsed through interagency workshops, as points needing to be addressed in order to support the mental health and wellbeing of the South Dublin County community:
- Gaps in services for young people – Young people, particularly 16 and 17-year olds, and under 12-year olds, can find it challenging to access appropriate services, especially in relation to anxiety, anger management, or ASD. There are long waiting lists for screening educational psychology and intellectual disabilities assessments.There are also les services in Clondalkin than Tallaght
- Populations to target – Specific populations with high-needs and lacking in services include; isolated mothers, homeless people, drug users, young people age 16 – 18, men in late 20s, 30s and 40s, Traveller and Roma communities, foreign nationals and people living in domestic abuse situations
- Increase in suicide levels, not yet available in national data sets – There is anecdotal information that there has been a recent increase in female/young mother suicides in South Dublin County, many of which are polydrug use related. Many professionals and community members do not feel equipped to deal with this issue
- Dual Diagnosis – People with mental health needs and drug/alcohol addiction find it challenging to access a service, as neither mental health services nor drug services have a remit to work with dual diagnosis. This can be a particular issue for youth.
- Services can lack flexibility – Families in need of mental health screenings or services are often high need and struggle to consistently keep appointments. Services can end-up penalising families for missed appointments
- School absence / parental support – Young people with anxiety or other mental health can refuse to attend school. Parents need support and education to build mental resilience to support children with mental health or behavioral issues
- Lack of awareness in the community – People are unaware of the services and supports available and can be hesitant to reach out for help
- Technology – Youth are isolating themselves by using social media and gaming online. Gambling and pornography addiction is on the rise and there is a gap in professional understanding of these topics and how to respond
- Ante and post-natal supports – Public Health Nurses need to have more visits with mothers and infants to pay closer attention to infant mental health and post-natal depression
- Staff training – Staff would like more access to mental health training such as ASIST, Mental Health first aid, and Safetalk: but are not always clear how to access this.
- Different pathways to CAMHS – CAMHS in Tallaght and Clondalkin have different pathways and different challenges to entry
- There is not sufficient capacity to support young people at risk and specifically those who suffer from low to medium level neglect. The threshold is very high (i.e. experiencing physical or sexual abuse) so children can fall through the cracks
- Diversity needs to be considered – There is a need to engage minority communities as peer workers so that cultural factors are understood and taken into consideration