Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said that Sinn Féin is committed to funding mental health care and will deliver the much needed change when in Government.
Teachta Ward was speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin’s Alternative Health Budget 2024 this morning.
Teachta Ward said:
“When we say that the longer Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are in Government the worse things get – we mean it. I’ll give you just a couple of facts.
“This Government was formed in mid-2020. At the time there was just over 2,000 children waiting on an initial assessment with the Children’s and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). Currently the list stands at 4,000 children, almost double under this Government.
“Sinn Fein has a plan to improve CAMHS. Sinn Féin would invest in restoring lost CAMHS capacity, which has fallen from 72 to 53 inpatient places.
“We would ensure funding to restore 19 CAMHS inpatient places, and to further expand CAMHS inpatient capacity over a term of Government.
“We would ensure funding is available for the fully delivery on CAMHS community teams over three years, including the full provision of 12 CAMHS-Intellectual Disability teams.
“All experts agree early intervention is key and that if a young person does not get the care they need when they need it and where they need it they are more likely to need the more acute services.
“When this Government was formed there was an unacceptable 11,000 children and adults waiting on an appointment with primary care psychology. That has now risen to a staggering 16,000 people.
“Sinn Féin would significantly invest in primary care mental health services.
“We would increase training for psychologists, ensure that Jigsaw primary mental health services are available on a consistent basis across the state, and invest towards universal counselling.
“In Budget 2023 the Government did not provide funding to expand National Clinical Programmes. We would address this.
“There are significant gaps in specialist services for ADHD, eating disorders, and addiction, early intervention in psychosis, liaison psychiatry, and perinatal mental health services which require multi-annual funding certainty to develop.
“Sinn Féin is committed to funding these programmes.
“Sinn Fein is serious about tackling the deficits created by successive Government in Mental Health care.
“We have a raft of measures that will improve people’s access to the mental health care they need, when they need it and where they need it.
“These will lead to better mental health outcomes.”
– Click here to view the Sinn Féin Alternative Health Budget 2024 in full.