August 20, 2020
‘Shameful delays’ to children’s mental health treatment are ‘unacceptable’ – Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has called on the Minister for Health to resource the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) as a matter of urgency.

His comments follow information received from a Sinn Féin parliamentary question which revealed that over 2,300 children are waiting for an appointment with CAMHS. 796 of these children are waiting over six months to be treated. 

Teachta Ward said: 

“The information received in response to a parliamentary question by my colleague Pat Buckley TD is startling. 2,315 children are waiting for an appointment with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). 

“Almost 800 children are waiting for over six months and more than 200 children waiting over a year. This is unacceptable. These children deserve better. 

“I was at the special sitting of the Covid committee on mental health when the CEO of Mental Health Commission John Farrelly stated that our metal health system is not fit for purpose and is out of date. I could not agree more. 

“Early mental health intervention is key for recovery. If a child gets the help that is needed at an early age then the child is less likely to need more acute services as they progress into adulthood. 

“It takes a lot for a family to reach out and seek mental health supports. So, the least that a family should be able to expect is to get help the they need for their child when they ask for it. 

“Every delay causes heart-break and distress for the child and their family. “I am particularly concerned that there seems to be a longer waiting time in CHO area 7, which incorporates Kerry, North Cork, North Lee, South Lee and West Cork. This area accounts for over 40% of the children waiting over 12 months for an appointment. I have contacted the Minister in relation to the overall waiting times and particularly CHO 7. I have asked that youth mental health services are resourced. 

“These shocking delays in assessing and treating children need to be tackled immediately because each and every day that children are not receiving treatment leads to more complex difficulties. 

“Numerous mental health groups have predicted and witnessed an increased pressure on their services due to Covid. These shameful delays are inexcusable. The Government needs to act now.”

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