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Adams calls for greater investment in CAMHS for Louth

14 July, 2017 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD and President Gerry Adams has urged the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to commit to the “provision of fully staff and adequately funded mental health services in County Louth”.

The Sinn Féin leader raised the lack of mental health services in the north Louth area with the Taoiseach in the Dáil on Wednesday.

Speaking afterward, Gerry Adams said:

“In the Programme for Government published by the government last year, there is a commitment to improve ‘the uniformity, effectiveness and timeliness of support services to families and communities bereaved by suicide’.

“In June, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) published a damning report on child well-being. UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations to protect children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. Its June report found that the teenage suicide rate in this State is the fourth highest in the EU-OECD region.

“Professor Brendan Kelly of Trinity College recently told the Seanad Public Consultation Committee that it is almost impossible to get a hospital bed for a child or an adolescent struggling with mental health issues. He also reported that the rate of suicide has increased among young males aged between 15 and 24.

“At the beginning of July, it was reported that 44 children had been admitted to adult mental health units in the first five months of this year, which is an increase on the same period last year. The Mental Health Commission reported that just 6 per cent of mental health units are compliant with staffing regulations and as a result children are being placed increasingly in adult units

“The Commission also reported that this trend of children in adult units was largely a response to a fall in the number of beds available to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). In Louth, there are no child and adolescent mental health services, CAMHS, in the north Louth area. Community-based psychiatric services in Dundalk are practically non-existent, apart from Ladywell, which, despite the hard work of the staff there, is not fit for purpose.

“Currently, there are almost two and a half thousand children on the waiting list across the state for CAMHS. Two hundred and eighteen have been waiting for more than a year.

“In its Budget preparations, the government must commit to the provision of fully staffed and adequately funded mental health services, especially for children. I would urge the government to allocated funding for the provision of CAMHS in County Louth.” 

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