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No Primary Care Psychology service to under 18s in Dublin North – O’ Reilly

11 August, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Revelations by the HSE to Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD, that there is no Primary Care Psychology service to the under 18 population in the Dublin North catchment area, have been described by the Dublin Fingal TD as “scandalous” and “deeply worrying”.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“In the last number of weeks the Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health launched a National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health, a supposed community-led taskforce to take action to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people in Ireland. However, the reality that there are young people without access to a primary care psychology service undermines the good will and intent of any taskforce set up.

“It is scandalous and deeply worrying that in an area as populated, and which is seeing such massive growth, as Dublin North that there is no primary care psychologist available. The HSE themselves have noted that this creates difficulties in relation to the ability to discharge to a more appropriate service when a young person is no longer in need of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services .

“Primary care and mental health are supposed to be major pillars of this Government’s priorities but it is very clear that the intent and the actions are diametrically opposed at this current time.

“Many of the current problems in our mental health services particularly for young people are due to the failure to implement large sections of the reforms recommended by a Vision for Change over 10 years ago.  This includes reforms such as increasing the number of child and adolescents mental health teams and in-patient beds, 24 hour crisis support and better access to primary care counselling services.  All of these measures would go a long way to improving the situation for young people experiencing mental health difficulties today. We need to fund the delivery of the community and early intervention services as promised in a vision for change ten years ago.

“The Area Manager has advised me that a business case to recruit psychologists to address this deficit has been submitted by the Chief Officer to the National Primary Care Division. This should be a priority and the Minister needs to ensure that the resources are there. The establishment of the National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health was welcome, but where there are practical and real steps to be taken now, this should happen.” 

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