Sinn Fein spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called on the Government to prioritise youth mental health and the National Clinical Programmes (NCPs) in Budget 2024.
Teachta Ward said:
“Mental health care for young people has gone beyond a crisis in the last 3 years with waiting lists for primary and secondary services hugely increasing in that time.
“I have been calling for urgent action in youth mental health since becoming the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, and every year the Budget in this area has been underwhelming.
“While waiting lists continue to grow, vital funding stays stagnant.
“We have seen waiting lists for first-time appointments increase from 2,115 to almost 4,000 children since this government was formed.
“We have seen numerous reports into CAMHS, from the Maskey report to the Mental Health Commission’s review, with recommendations to improve services and yet we have seen little response from the Government.
“I have submitted a Bill, alongside Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, that would give the Mental Health Commission to the statutory powers to implement change in CAMHS services. This is the type of action that we need to see from the Minister for Mental Health.
“And yet, our young people and their families are left waiting.
“Sinn Féin has also laid out our priorities to improve mental health services at each stage of care in our document that we launched this year, ‘Sinn Féin’s Priorities For Change In: Child And Youth Mental Health’.
“These are priorities that Sinn Féin would implement when in Government. There cannot be a delay on doing so.
“An area that has also been neglected for new funding is the National Clinical Programmes (NCPs) for mental health which include areas like ADHD in adults, eating disorders services, early intervention into psychosis and self harm and suicide ideation.
“I received a response to a parliamentary question which stated that no new funding was provided for NCPs this year. This means that the targets for these programmes are a year behind their expansion, and this will continue if there is no funding in Budget 2024.
“We need to see youth mental health and the NCPs given the investment that they need to deliver on the growing demand for their services.
“While funding for these areas are vital, other areas of mental health care must not be sacrificed to fund the NCPs and youth mental health.”