Sinn Féin spokesperson for Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said that it is worrying that 70% of young people attending a specialist adolescent addiction service had previously attended the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
Speaking after the publication of the latest annual report of the HSE’s Adolescent Addiction Service, Teachta Ward said:
“The percentage of young people attending the HSE’s specialist adolescent addiction service who also have a history with CAMHS is extremely high.
“The report said almost 7 in 10 teenagers attending the service had a history of contact with the HSE’s Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service.
“This reflected the extent to which young people using drugs and alcohol experienced mental health issues.
“Among issues reported were attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, self-harm, suicide ideation, depression, anorexia, and anxiety.
“Only last week we heard two Oireachtas committees about children experiencing dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis is when a person has a mental health and substance use problems.
“Witnesses at the Children’s and also the Mental Health Committee talked about how young people are self-medicating because they cannot access the appropriate mental health care when it is needed.
“We currently have over 11,000 children waiting for an appointment with primary care psychology and another 5,000 children waiting on an initial assessment with CAMHS.
“Despite having had a history with CAMHS only 5% of young people reported having Psychiatric Assessment.
“We need to ensure that young people get the early intervention that they need and that our community youth and addiction services are properly resourced.”