February 23, 2024
Children deserve better mental health services – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said that children deserve better mental health services and should not have to wait to access them.

Deputy Ward was speaking ahead of his legislation to regulate CAMHS under the Mental Health Act, which will be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday.

He added that the government must act now, and that regulating children’s mental health services would drive improvements, and help tackle waiting lists.

Teachta Ward said:

“Children deserve better mental health services. They should not have to wait to access mental health services.

“On Tuesday, Sinn Féin will bring forward a bill to regulate children’s mental health services.

“This is the first recommendation that was made by the Mental Health Commission in their report on CAMHS and if passed would give the Commission the statutory powers to oversee and implement the remainder of their 49 recommendations.

“This will drive improvements, and help tackle waiting lists.

“The Mental Health Commission’s report into CAMHS highlighted a number of issues with CAMHS, including children lost to follow up, lack of monitoring of psychiatric medicines, unacceptable waiting times for high risk referrals and many more operational issues.

“We have seen waiting lists for first time appointments for CAMHS increase by 83% overall, with certain CHOs such as CHO4 almost three times the size of what it was when this government came to office.

“We have also seen the number of children waiting over a year for a first time appointment nearly increase by 300% since this government took office. This is totally unacceptable. The longer an issue goes without help, the worse that it can become.

“We have also seen the unacceptable postcode lottery of care continue to exist with certain counties receiving a lower quality of care.

“Children with a dual diagnosis of mental ill-health and an intellectual disability are falling through the cracks as are neurodiverse children.

“Parents, children and stakeholders have been highlighting the crisis in children’s mental health which has gotten worse under this Government.

“Sinn Féin have engaged with families and stakeholders. We have listened to their experiences. We are taking them seriously.

“This is the first step in tackling the crisis in children’s mental health and will lay the foundation to reduce waiting lists.

“The Minister has dragged her feet on this matter and now must support this legislation.

“This cannot be kicked down the road, our children cannot wait any longer for the regulation of CAMHS.”


Sinn Féin’s bill can be read here:

https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/bill/2023/83/eng/initiated/b8323d.pdf

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