Funding for youth mental health services must be protected - Mark Ward
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid West Mark Ward has called on the government to adequately fund youth mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking this afternoon, Ward outlined the need for these vital services to be protected during the current crisis, as well as on a longer term basis once the pandemic ends as young people cope with the long-lasting effects of these unprecedented times.
Teachta Ward said:
“As of December, there were 2,327 children waiting for an appointment with the HSE's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). Over 100 of those kids have been waiting over 18 month and some for more than two years.
“There are many examples of why our young people will need mental health services more than ever during and post-COVID.
“Our young people are still unclear about their leaving cert. Young people are missing school, their friends and sports. Some young people are witnessing an increased level of domestic violence at home and have no safe place to escape to.
“How will the Minister reduce the waiting lists times for CAMHS? What additional resources are you directing to frontline youth mental health right now? What additional resources will you direct to these front-line services post Covid-19?”
Teachta Ward highlighted the experience of JIGSAW service in his constituency, which has seen demand spike amid the pandemic.
He said: “In my own area of Dublin Mid-West, pre-COVID our local youth mental health service JIGSAW was moved from a five-day comprehensive service based in North Clondalkin to a probable one or two-day-a-week satellite service.
“JIGSAW have seen a 420 per cent increase in young people accessing support online. Will the Minister intervene to retain the JIGSAW service in North Clondalkin?”