11 September 2020
By Tom Collins
The Cork East branch of the Social Democrats are calling on the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly to establish a centre of the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Fermoy or Mitchelstown.
“The nearest CAMHS service to many East and North Cork towns is in Mallow. For those living in Fermoy or Mitchelstown, for example, this is not at all accessible. A visit would require two buses each way – one to Cork City and then onto Mallow – with the same journey on return. For someone experiencing mental distress, the cost and unreliability of rural bus services may act as a barrier to receiving the support they require. No one should have to juggle four buses to get to a counselling session.” said Saoirse Mackin, Chairperson of Social Democrats’ Cork East branch.
Cork East Social Democrats say that establishing an interim service in the area is achievable given the number of counsellors in Fermoy who could be brought in to work on behalf of the CAMHS service. There is an abundance of vacant premises which CAMHS could avail of in either of the two towns.
Saoirse continues “If a full time CAMHS service in the area was not possible, even a part time clinic running several days a week would be very welcome. Many of the towns in the area, and Mitchelstown in particular, have seen a high number of suicides in recent years, a large portion of which are young people. This is deeply worrying and issues such as COVID-19 and anxiety around back-to-school could also jeopardise the mental health of some young people.”
The Social Democrats say they believe all vital services such as mental health facilities should be easily accessible to all who need them.