June 14, 2024
Government must listen to families and reform CAMHS – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called for the urgent need to regulate Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

Deputy Ward was speaking following the report launch by Families for Reform of CAMHS, which highlighted the lack of services for children

Families for Reform of CAMHS are a group of 1200 families that was formed in May 2023.

Teachta Ward said:

“I have highlighted the need to reform youth mental health since I became the Sinn Féin spokesperson for mental health in 2020.

“I have been contacted by hundreds of parents in my constituency and across the state who have either been denied services in CAMHS or who have not received the right care when they have been accepted.

“Families for Reform of CAMHS are a group of more than 1200 members who have come together to highlight their stories. In just a year, they have presented in Leinster House, they have spoken before an Oireachtas Committee and this week they launched a report following a survey of their members.

“I was happy to host Families for Reform of CAMHS in Leinster House this week where they gave a presentation on the main finding of the report. It was powerful, it was moving and it was necessary to bring about the changes needed in CAMHS.

“One parent said: ‘We thought getting an appointment with CAMHS was the beginning of getting help, how wrong we were’.

“Another raised the issue of how dual diagnosis can affect the level of care: ‘Passed back and forth between services too autistic for one and too anxious for the other’.

“92% of families have reported that their children deteriorated while waiting to get onto CAMHS lists. They have reported that early intervention is not a reality.

“40% of children went to A&E while on the CAMHS waiting lists.

“69% went for private supports while on CAMHS waiting lists.

“The system is not working and if children with mental health issues and there is a dual diagnosis of an intellectual disability or autism, or if they have a specialist mental health need of ADHD, eating disorders or those with suicidal ideation, then the specialist service is not being delivered.

“We need a reform of our youth mental health services where children can reach their full potential, and for families to be able to live their lives.

“I brought legislation to regulate CAMHS under the Mental Health Act to bring about the necessary changes put forward by the Mental Health Commission in their review of CAMHS. Government kicked this down the road promising their own legislation.

“This has still not materialised and families have been left waiting and children have not been receiving adequate care.

“Sinn Féin is listening to families and is taking these issues seriously. In government, Sinn Féin would prioritise youth mental health and for the delivery of early intervention.”

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