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Friday, 16 November, 2018

Mental health services not available to people with disabilities – Irish Examiner

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Adam Harris, the younger brother of Health Minister Simon Harris, will highlight the difficulties people with intellectual disability, including autism, face trying to access mental health services when he addresses a conference today.

Mr Harris, 23, who was diagnosed aged four-and-a-half with Asperger’s syndrome on the autism spectrum, said people with intellectual disability were being failed on a number of levels in the community, particularly in access to healthcare and employment.

They were particularly vulnerable in the area of mental health.

“For instance, people with autism can’t access Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services because there is gatekeeping going on,” he said.

Mr Harris said people with autism experiencing a mental health crisis were being “kept out of CAMHs” and redirected to disability services “which don’t have CAMHs” .

“So they often need to go privately for care,” he said.

Mr Harris, who will address the Praxis Care autumn conference in City North Hotel, Co Meath, today, said there were also difficulties accessing psychiatrists and that while those treating children undergo specialised training in autism, those working in adult services did not. He said all doctors should undergo such training.

“There is a certain cultural difficulty in the medical community when it comes to autism, a ‘that’s not part of my skillset’ mentality, but actually we are just patients as well. We need to be seen as three-dimensional human beings, and not put into a box where there is no recognition that we can experience the same mental health crises as everyone else,” Mr Harris said.

Read more at: https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/mental-health-services-not-available-to-people-with-disabilities-885484.html

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