October 3, 2023
Over 6,000 children present to Emergency Departments for mental health supports – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has highlighted the Government’s failure in child and youth mental health care. 

6,471 children have presented to emergency departments since 2019.

Teachta Ward was speaking following the figures for children attending Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) emergency departments were released to him in a response to a parliamentary question.

The Dublin Mid-West TD said:

“This Government is failing our young people in mental health. I have received a parliamentary question response that states over 6,400 children have presented to children’s emergency departments since 2019 with mental health difficulties, including almost 1,000 so far this year.

“These include emergency departments at Connolly, Crumlin, Temple Street and Tallaght Hospitals.

“2,581 children have been admitted to hospital from emergency departments since 2019.

“This is a direct consequence of successive Government’s failing to invest in youth mental health care, which now faces a perfect storm of problems.

“CAMHS waiting lists have reached over 4,400, as of May this year, doubling in the 3 years that this Government have been in office. 735 of these children have been waiting for more than a year.  

“Primary care psychology services have over 16,000 young people waiting for appointments. Jigsaw services have wait times of up to 15 weeks in some areas.

“It is even difficult to get an appointment with a GP. All of these are leaving parents and young people no other option than to go to an emergency department in a time of mental health crisis.

“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 this early intervention.

“I recently highlighted children within CAMHS that are high risk for suicidal ideation or deliberate self-harm, as they are having to wait over 190 days for assessments. This was revealed in the Mental Health Commission’s review into CAMHS.

“We need solutions to this emergency, but every waiting list is going in the wrong direction and that is up. The Government is out of ideas and they are out of time.

“Sinn Féin has solutions to the crisis in youth mental health. We have prioritised CAMHS inpatient capacity and to fully resource all CAMHS teams, in our Alternative Budget. This will provide a much needed service to young people with moderate to severe mental health needs.

“We have also prioritised early intervention with a move towards universal counselling on GP referral, as well as expanding Jigsaw services.

“We have also committed to develop a liaison psychiatry model of care within our Emergency Departments to ensure that those in crisis are given appropriate care when they need it.

“Sinn Féin has solutions. The longer this Government is in place, the worst this emergency is going to get.”


Note to Editor:

Click here to view PQ response 1.
Click here to view PQ response 2.
Click here to view PQ response 3.
Click here to view Appendix 1.
Click here to view Tallaght figures.
Click here to view Crumlin, Connolly and Temple Street figures.

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