The Irish Mental Health Service as a Teenage Psychiatric Patient

As a teenager growing up in the Irish Mental Health system, my life journey was very different from most. I spent 4 years of my adolescence as a psychiatric patient in a CAMHS inpatient unit. Mental health is something very close to my heart. I am incredibly passionate about advocating for the rights and changes needed in the Irish CAMHS service.

Why now?

It’s 2023 and thankfully I have a new safe place dedicated to writing and my own personal invested interest in the Irish Mental Health System. Primarily Child and Adolescence Mental Health in Ireland.

My own history.

After a suicide attempt in my second year of secondary school, I was hospitalized in child and adolescent psychiatric care. From 14 to 18 years of age, I remained a psychiatric patient detained under the mental health act. My friends were doing their junior certificate and experiencing a number of first moments. A first love, a first heartbreak, a first lesson in driving. A first look into what the future brings for them. I was the complete opposite. The only thing I experienced was a severe mental illness of depression. I spent every morning refusing to get out of bed. The sadness was unbearable. Suicidal and depressed; I was a severe risk to myself. Within a few months, I became the highest-risk teen in the Irish care system.

It is a rare occurrence for a young person to have such a severe mental illness. To need such intensive intervention and care. Unfortunately, it is not unknown. Spending my teenage years detained in psychiatric care brought me life experience. Perspective, and an unshakeable determination to make changes.

Advocating for better CAMHS services

I was going to do everything in my power to make sure no other young person experienced what I did. Despite my journey diverging down many different routes, my destination has remained the same. I am back online creating honest, real-life content. If it can help inspire others going through difficult times, it’s worth it. If it helps light the way to a future brighter, it’s worth it. Life can be tough. It’s important to have a support network of family or friends to journey with us.

Values and goals

It was very important to me to make sure that this website always has an up to date Support and Resources available with contact links for organizations and helplines available to use in the Republic of Ireland. It was essential to me to dedicate a page to getting help. Getting support, and care. I myself have been in a life-or-death mental health crisis and I could have benefited from a page with all the information of help available.

My inbox is always open, I will always do whatever I can to help someone, support someone, and be there for someone without judgment. To listen attentively and if needed help them access the supports available.

“As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person.”

Paul Shane Spear
  • Tallaght Hospital 2019 selfie
  • Tallaght Hospital recovering after the train
  • Before the attempt, Miss Midlands 208
  • Summer 2022 hiking

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