Concern at CAMHS provision in Louth – Adams
Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Gerry Adams has expressed his deep concern at the inadequate resourcing and staffing of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in Louth and East Meath.
A recent PQ response recorded that Community Health Organisation 8 (CHO 8) which covers Louth, Meath, Westmeath, Longford, Offaly and Laois “has the second highest number of children waiting an initial assessment by CAMHS”.
Gerry Adams said:
“Children who present with moderate to severe mental health problems are seen by the CAMHS service. It is a multi-disciplinary service and the psychologists involved work alongside other related disciplines. Initial assessments are crucial to commencing the work of providing support for children in need.
“The Children’s Rights Alliance in its annual report card this week identified more than 7,000 children with mental health concerns waiting on lists for community and psychology supports.
“According to the HSE, there are 2,250 waiting for an initial assessment across the state. Of these, 342 are in CHO 8. Over half of these – 185 – have been waiting for more than three months. 44 children have been waiting for more than a year.
“The staffing figures are also a matter of deep concern. The North Louth area has less than one third of the numbers of staff it should have. It is currently understaffed by ten. South Louth which should have approximately the same number of staff as the north of the county is short six staff.
“The reality is that, despite the hard work of the staff working in the CAMHS services, the under-resourcing and understaffing issues mean that CAMHS is not meeting the needs of an entire cohort of children and young people who are often in very desperate need of immediate care.
“Early intervention is crucial when it comes to dealing with mental health issues, but early intervention cannot happen if there are extensive waiting lists and a sheer lack of capacity in the system.
“CAMHS services have just over a half of the staff identified as part of ‘A Vision for Change’, the policy document that was launched 13 years ago. Since then, the population and the demand has increased.
“The responsibility is on the Minister for Health and this government to urgently provide the funding needed to hire the specialist staff needed by CAMHS.”