Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has echoed the views expressed by the Children’s Ombudsman, Dr Niall Muldoon, regarding the low levels of investment in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Deputy Ward was speaking following the comments made at the Psychiatric Nurses Association annual delegate conference last week.
Teachta Ward said:
“The Children’s Ombudsman, Dr Niall Muldoon, has called the investment into CAMHS as ‘insult to children’ at the Psychiatric Nurses Association annual delegate conference.
“I echo his views. I have raised the underinvestment in CAMHS and mental health in general since becoming Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health nearly three years ago.
“Mental Health funding stands at just over 5% of the overall health budget. This is despite Sláintecare and international best practice calling for levels of 10% or more.
“We have actually seen a decline in relative spending over the last decade and the effects of this can be really seen in CAMHS.
“Waiting lists for first time appointments in CAMHS are up 88% since January 2020, nearly double in three years.
“Early intervention in mental health is key in preventing chronic, longterm, mental ill-health with 50% of mental health problems established by the age of 14, and 75% by the age of 24.
“CAMHS should be a priority for the government, and yet, even after the Maskey Report and the Mental Health Commission’s interim report, waiting lists continue to grow and young people continue to be left behind.
“Sinn Féin would be proactive in government and reduce these waiting lists by improving staffing levels and delivering a uniform service.
“CAMHS should be extended up to 25 years of age to ensure a continuum of care for young people accessing services.
“CAMHS and mental health can no longer be the Cinderella of the Health Service.”