Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called on the Government to act urgently in the area of child and youth mental health.
Teachta Ward was speaking following the publishing of A Piece of My Mind – Children’s Mental Health Survey by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office, which highlights the mental health difficulties faced by 12-17 years olds.
Teachta Ward said:
“The Ombudsman for Children’s Office today published a survey of 2,166 young people who were asked about their mental health.
“The results of this report are not surprising, but once again they reinforce the need to resource mental health services for our young people.
“78% of young people rate their mental health as not good or sometimes low/stressed/anxious.
“This is a large percentage of young people who unfortunately are not having their needs addressed.
“I have regularly highlighted the increasing waiting list for CAMHS, with record highs of over 4,400 waiting for a first-time appointment, and of these 682 waiting more than a year.
“What was alarming from this report was that 60% of young people who attended CAMHS, in the last year, had difficulty accessing the service.
“And 42% said that CAMHS did not help with their mental health issues.
“Where are these children supposed to go?
“The interim report by the Mental Health Commission earlier this year highlighted the under resourced CAMHS teams across the state.
“Today’s report is another indictment of the response by Government to address this crisis in young people’s mental health.
“Early intervention is key in preventing the development of chronic, long-term mental ill-health and can reduce the increased need for CAMHS by young people. This needs to be resourced.
“Young people’s mental health is a priority for Sinn Féin and in Government we would deliver a service that meets their needs, and allows them to reach their full potential.”