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Government’s failure in children’s mental health "exposed on the international stage" – Mark Ward TD

7 September, 2022 - by Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said that reports sent to the UN today from the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) show the continuous failure by government towards children in this state.

Teachta Ward was speaking after the report, Pieces of Us, was sent ahead of January’s meeting between government and the UN.

The Dublin Mid-West TD said:

“The reports sent to the UN today from the OCO show the continuous failure by government towards children in this state.

“Pieces of Us is a report in which over 5,500 children from Ireland took part and told of their lived experiences and the issues affecting them.

“The issue of mental health waiting lists and lack of appropriate services were cited by hundreds of children throughout the report.

“Children describing waiting a year to see a mental health professional as 'a long tiring fight' that 'puts pressure on the families and children already suffering' is the stark reality of where we find ourselves due to lack of funding and staffing.

“A response from a parliamentary question that I received from the Department of Health revealed that more than almost 4,000 children are waiting over a year for an appointment for primary care psychology.

“Children also said that the services that are available to them through mental health charities and through CAMHS are often 'difficult to navigate'.

“It is clear to see that the government is failing children and this is now exposed on the international stage.

“A second report submitted by the Ombudsman for Children, Niall Muldoon, included recommendations for government in future policies for children including adequately funding CAMHS and preventing children being admitted to adult facilities.

“In my time as Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, I have highlighted the need to address the above issues by increasing our mental health spending to international recommendations and to strengthen government oversight by the reinstatement of a national director for mental health.

“These are commitments that Sinn Féin will deliver in government and have included in our alternative health budget.

“Government must react now to these reports as anything other than action is not acceptable."

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