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Pat Buckley TD shocked by damning report on youth mental health services

5 July, 2017 - by Pat Buckley TD

Sinn Féin Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has welcomed a report on the experiences of parents dealing with the child and adolescent mental health services, calling it shocking and damning. The report, based on the Independent Survey of Parent's Views of the HSE Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, was published today.

Deputy Buckley said;

"I have been raising the shortages and shortfalls in our youth mental health services since day one of this Dáil and only last week secured a debate with Minister Daly on the issue of CAMHS.

"I have read report after report and poured over HSE replies but this document still shocks me and is utterly damning of the government and its failure to provide adequate services for young people both in terms of CAMHS and other primary care and school based provision.

"On the first page of the report it states that based on the ratio of resource to population growth, it will be 2040 before CAMHS are adequately staffed. While the report describes this as optimistic, the parents who responded to the survey are not optimistic whatsoever when it comes to the services being fixed, describing it as "incredibly broken".

"Only 18% of 177 respondents were satisfied with their experience of CAMHS, but 32% did find the service beneficial once accessed. Parents completely distraught at the suffering of their children describe the heartbreaking daily struggle and ultimately feeling let down by the HSE.

"Continuity of services was  another major issue with long waiting lists for initial assessments being followed by long waits for follow ups, unsupported discharges or referral to services which simply where not available.

"75% felt negatively in relation to the use of medication. While medication can be an uncomfortable subject for families, it can also be the best course of treatment but the levels of prescribing of serious psychiatric medications to very young children is cause for concern.

"This is especially the case when you consider that many of these issues should have been addressed by primary care or community services well before the problem developed to this stage.

"This report is a story of parents struggling for their children in a under staffed, under resourced and over subscribed system which stands in isolation without sufficient alternatives to deal with children who require different approaches and early intervention.

"Minister Daly his Government must sit up, listen to these testimonies and begin the work of investing in a major overhaul of youth services."

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