Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called for increased supports for children and young people who have faced mental health challenges over the last decade.
Teachta Ward was speaking following the publishing of the ‘Spotlight’ report by Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman TD.
CAMHS services have 4,434 people waiting for a first-time appointment, with 682 waiting for more than a year.
Teachta Ward said:
“The Spotlight report that was launched last week is an important snapshot that reinforces what we already know to be happening.
“The report highlights a 150% increase of children in receipt of clinical psychology between 2019 and 2020 with demand for services also increasing.
“It has highlighted the increased loneliness that affect young people over the decade.
“When I was first appointed as Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health in 2020, I called on the Government to expand capacity within primary and secondary mental health services, particularly for young people.
“There has been little movement on delivering for young people in recent years.
“We have reached record numbers waiting for first time appointments with CAMHS with 4,434 waiting overall and 682 of these waiting over a year.
“This is a rise of 110% and 215% respectively since this Government first took office.
“There are more than 11,000 children waiting for an appointment with primary care psychology. Waiting times with Jigsaw are as high as 30 weeks in some areas.
“Early intervention is key when it comes to mental health in preventing chronic, longterm treatment need.
“The trends for increase in waiting times are not sustainable.
“We need action from Government, we need a fully resourced CAMHS Service with integration with primary care services.
“CAMHS must be extended to help young people up to the age of 25 years, by which age 75% of chronic mental ill-health has been established by.
“Provision should also be made for child counselling in primary care.
“We have to be able to give every child the opportunity to reach their full potential and this Spotlight report has unfortunately shown that this is not the case for those with mental ill-health.”