September 30, 2021
Increased capacity is needed in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has called for increased capacity in CAHMS to move towards a consistent seven-day week outpatient model with the ability to treat children who are experiencing an out of hours emergency mental health situation 

This call is in response to information received from the HSE that children should be brought to the Emergency Department if they are experiencing a mental health situation out of hours

Teachta Ward said:

“The HSE stated in  response to a parliamentary question  I submitted “in an emergency situation where no Community CAMHS Team is available, it is advised that the emergency services are contacted or that the child or adolescent is brought to the Emergency Department of the nearest hospital to access a mental health assessment.”

“The emergency department is not an appropriate place for an adult experiencing a mental health situation never mind a child.

“At present CAHMS generally operate between the hours of 9am to 5pm , Monday to Friday.

“Mental health issues do not just present between 9am and 5pm and take a break at the weekend, they can occur at anytime.

“We need a fit for purpose Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service that our young people can access and receive the care they need, when and where they need it.

“Some areas have access to an out of hours  Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist  but this has to be accessed through an Emergency Department.

“We need increased capacity in CAHMS  to move towards a consistent seven-day week outpatient model with the ability to treat children who are experiencing an out of hours emergency mental health situation

Below response to parliamentary question:

Deputy Mark Ward, 

Dail Eireann, 

Dublin 2. 

22nd September 2021 

PQ Number: 41795/21 

PQ Question: To ask the Minister for Health the breakdown of locations of CAHMS services across the State; and the operating hours for each service – Mark Ward

Dear Deputy Ward, 

The Health Service Executive has been requested to reply directly to you in the context of the above Parliamentary Question, which you submitted to the Minister for Health for response. I have examined the matter and the following outlines the position. 

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services is a service that provides assessment and treatment for young people and their families who are experiencing mental health difficulties. While a broad range of services support the mental health of children and adolescents, the term ‘CAMHS’ is usually applied very specifically to services that provide specialist mental health treatment and care to young people up to 18 years of age through a multidisciplinary team. To access a CAMHS service you need to be referred by your GP. The aim of CAMHS is to provide timely high quality assessment and treatment of mental health difficulties for young people and their families.

There are 73 Community CAMHS teams across the nine Community Healthcare Organisation’s listed below. Opening times vary from service to service based on service user needs, however generally referrals are screened daily during working hours (Monday to Friday 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.) There are also 4 Child and Adolescent In-Patient Units located in Cork, Galway and 2 in Dublin.

Outside of these hours, or in an emergency situation where no Community CAMHS Team is available, it is advised that the emergency services are contacted or that the child or adolescent is brought to the Emergency Department of the nearest hospital to access a mental health assessment. 

In many areas of the country a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is on call 24 hours and can be contacted by the Accident and Emergency services if required.

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