Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said that the emergency in children’s mental health care is worsening under this government.
In highlighting the huge waiting lists that are resulting in children having to access emergency departments for mental health treatment, Teachta Ward added that Taoiseach must be deluded following his claim that his government had been ‘extraordinarily diligent and dedicated’ in the area of mental health.
Teachta Ward said:
“I was astounded that during the debate prior to the confidence vote last week that the Taoiseach claimed his government has been ‘extraordinarily diligent and dedicated’ in the area of mental health.
“I challenged the Taoiseach directly on his claim and gave him a few facts.
“There has been a staggering 40% increase in children presenting to emergency departments for mental health care.
“In response to a parliamentary question, the HSE informed me that in 2018 there were 872 children who presented to emergency departments with mental health problems.
“These figures have increased year-on-year to 1220 children in 2021.
“Emergency departments are not the place for anyone suffering from mental ill-health, especially a child.
“Early intervention is key and children are simply not getting early interventions.
“There are currently over 4000 children waiting on an appointment for CAMHS – 560 of these children are waiting over six months.
“Over 2000 young people are waiting for an appointment with Jigsaw, with some areas having a 20-week waiting list.
“115 children who presented to the HSE for eating disorders were referred to non-eating disorder specialist inpatient facilities.
“There are 10,500 children waiting on primary care psychology, with 4000 children waiting over a year for an appointment.
“With realities like these, it is no wonder there is a huge increase in children presenting to emergency departments for mental health treatment.
“This government has failed children in mental health care provision and if the Taoiseach feels that they have been ‘extraordinarily diligent and dedicated’, then I am afraid he is deluded.
“The Taoiseach must realise that there is an emergency in children’s mental health care that requires an emergency response.”