8 August 2017
By Tom O’Sullivan
Sinn Féin deputy Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has said that government neglect of mental health services is failing young people and leading to unacceptable waiting lists for initial assessments and treatment. He made his comments following a call by the National Youth Council of Ireland for a major increase in funding for child and adolescent mental health funding in Budget 2018.
Deputy Buckley said:
“Mental health services in Ireland have been neglected for years without adequate investment or reform. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health services which should only be the resort for child and adolescents with more severe mental health issues is completely oversubscribed with over 2400 people awaiting initial assessment.
“Tackling developing mental health issues early is essential for best results; this is particularly so in the case of young people where early intervention has a much higher chance of positive results. When a child or young person is left waiting for assessment and intervention, they are not only forced to suffer with their ill health but to face potentially long running and serious consequences in the future.
“We need more psychologists and child psychologists at a primary care level with greater access to avoid people having to go on to CAMHS but we also need to tackle major problems in CAMHS itself. Right now, the service is hamstrung by a lack of staff with a shortage of consultant psychiatrists and only 53% of CAMHS positions filled.”