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Children’s mental health care reaches crisis point - Mark Ward TD

28 November, 2022 - by Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has accused the government of failing children’s mental health. 

The number of young people waiting for appointments with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) has risen this year to over 4000, with unacceptable increases in those waiting for longer than a year.

Teachta Ward said:

“Figures received by my party colleague, Deputy Mairéad Farrell, reveal that there is a substantial increase in young people waiting for mental health services in 2022.

“Over 4,000 children are waiting on appointments for CAMHS, this is an increase of 32% on figures we received for 2021.

“Early intervention is critical to reaching an improved outcome. More and more of our young people are not receiving this timely care and there has been an increase in the number of young people presenting to CAMHS for treatment and in the amount of time that they are waiting on an appointment.

“In my own area of CHO 7, there are currently 22 young people waiting over 12 months for an appointment, with 519 young people waiting over a year across the state.

“This is an increase of more than 157% since 2021 This is totally unacceptable.

“We need to move away from the postcode lottery for services. Treatment should be based on need, not on where you live.

“For example, there are 13 children waiting over a year  for an appointment in CHO 2 which covers Galway, Roscommon and Mayo whilst there are 215 children waiting over a year in CHO 4, which covers parts of Cork and Kerry.

“We are at a crisis point now for young people’s mental health. The government is failing to address this very serious situation.

“These services are nothing without staff but a failure by government to recruit and retain staff is leading to this increase in waiting lists.

“Sinn Féin in government would prioritise our young people. We would prioritise early intervention in their mental health care.

“In October, I, alongside Sinn Féin spokesperson for Health, Deputy David Cullinane, held a workshop on solutions to the crisis in mental health services for young people.

“We are committed to delivering on these solutions and it will be a priority for a Sinn Féin government.”

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