86% increase in children waiting for mental health supports under this Government - Mark Ward TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said there has been absolute failure in children’s mental health care under Minister Mary Butler.
Waiting lists for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) have nearly doubled since the Minister took office, with almost 4,000 young people currently waiting on treatment.
There are currently 579 children waiting over a year for an appointment with CAMHS.
Teachta Ward said:
“We have seen a dramatic rise is waiting lists for CAMHS since this government was formed in late June of 2020.
“July figures in 2020 showed 2,112 children were waiting on an appointment with CAMHS.
“A response I received from the HSE showing the latest figures in November 2022 had 3,937 young people waiting on services.
“That is a whopping 86% increase in the number of children waiting on an appointment for mental health treatment since Minister Mary Butler took office.
“What is really concerning is the rise in the number of children waiting over a year for a CAMHS appointment.
“This has gone from 216 children in June 2020 to 579 children in November 2022, waiting over a year for vital mental health treatment. An increase of 168%.
“It is vital that children get the care they need when they need it, and where they need it. Early intervention is key, so children have the best chance to reach their developmental milestones.
“Children are being denied the opportunity to reach their full potential under this Government.
“In this Government's time, we have seen CAMHS inpatient capacity reduced to 70%, with 11 critical inpatient beds remaining closed in Linn Dara.
“The Maskey report was published on the failure of care in South Kerry CAMHS where 240 children received risky care from their doctor and proof of significant harm was found for 46 of these children.
“This prompted a national audit into CAMHS services by both the HSE and the Mental Health Commission, which are due to be published early this year.
“The Mental Health Commission has already escalated concerns to the HSE before their report is launched, and yet the Minister is in the dark over the nature of these concerns.
“I have called for the reappointment of a National Director for Mental Health since I became the Sinn Féin spokesperson, so there can be more accountability within the HSE and an open line of communication with the Minister.
“I have asked for more information on the appointment process for the Youth Mental Health Lead that was announced in Budget 2023.
“This role could be crucial in tackling the issues that will be highlighted in the audits into CAMHS.
“Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services need urgent action by the Minister and her Government.”