Dual diagnosis: When the system fails

I took a call this morning from a woman on the brink.

Her sister is 29. She has a history of anorexia, borderline personality disorder, and, crucially… addiction issues. Her sister called us because they have exhausted every single option available to them, and because, after the Caoilte O Broin case, they know the likely outcome of this. The system just does not want to know about people with a dual diagnosis.

She ran away from a place in Shanakiel that was meant to be secure, and we spent the day looking for her on the streets. She’s in a ball in A&E at the moment, but they won’t section her because of her addiction. When we brought her to hospital she was drinking nail varnish remover that she’d hidden in her knickers.

She has been in and out of hospitals, homeless services, treatment centres… and because of her dual diagnosis, every single time her family has tried to have her sectioned, they have failed.

They’re a big family. Her parents are elderly and they don’t know that she’s been raped on the streets while her siblings, their solicitor, their local politician, their GP, tried frantically to find somewhere she would be safe.

She’s off her medication, expressing suicidal ideation. At the moment she’s being reviewed by a doctor and she will be discharged again, out onto the streets again.

At this stage she is even addicted to treatment centres; she’s been in all of them. We didn’t know where to turn.

The last time she got out of somewhere, she was arrested for stealing a bottle of wine, then the Gardai released her to Cork Simon. Back onto the streets.

We’re due to speak to a representative of the family on the show next week. If, as her sister said, in a tone of utter despair, she’s still alive then.

See DualDiagnosis.ie for more information.



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