Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has said the waiting times for the Jigsaw youth mental health service in Dublin West and right across the state are worrying.
Teachta Ward had called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution. Waiting times for an appointment with Jigsaw are currently up to 20 weeks.
Teachta Ward said:
“Figures released to me by the HSE through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Dublin South West
“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Dublin South West and across the State continues to grow. But as a result, youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment, with young people from Dublin South West currently waiting 18 weeks
“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.
“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk.
“Young people’s mental health has been adversely affected during the pandemic. Loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends have impacted on their mental health.
“Jigsaw has experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears.
“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker. Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.
“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.
“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution.”