Sinn Féin spokesperson for Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called for better supports for young people in CAMHS experiencing suicidal ideation.
Young people with suicidal ideation are waiting more than 200 days for treatment with CAMHS.
Deputy Ward was speaking after World Suicide Prevention Day 2023, following on from the reports released by the Mental Health Commission into CAMHS in each CHO area.
Teachta Ward said:
“The 10th of September every year is World Suicide Prevention Day. It is a day to refocus our attention on preventing suicide.
“The Mental Health Commission published reports on CAMHS in each CHO area last month. These gave a detailed breakdown of time waiting for high risk referrals. High risk referrals included deliberate self-harm (DSH), suicidal intent, suicidal ideation and eating disorders.
“The waiting times for these high risk referrals were completely unacceptable in many CHOs.
“Young people with suicidal ideation in CHO9, which covers North Dublin, were waiting more than 200 days from the point of referral until they received their assessment. 200 days is in no way an urgent response to what is an urgent need. The lowest average wait time for suicidal ideation was in CHO3, which covers Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary, with 15 days.
“How can such a disparity between CHOs exist? We need to do away with the postcode politics that exist within CAMHS and the wider health service.
“CHO4, which covers Cork and Kerry, had wait times of around 60 days for young people with suicidal intent. Suicidal intent refers to a clear desire and plan to complete suicide, and yet the young people of Cork and Kerry have to wait two months to be assessed. CHO3 once again had the shortest waiting time of around five days.
“Our mental health system is truly broken if we cannot give interventions for our young people contemplating suicide. This must change.
“I have met with Pieta and they have told me that they received almost 100,000 interventions on their Crisis Text and Phoneline last year.
“The demand for help is high but the response from government is found wanting. This year saw no additional funding for the National Clinical Programmes in mental health, including the National Clinical Programme for Self Harm and Suicide-related ideation. What we are seeing in CAMHS is the real life consequence of not funding these programmes.
“I am calling on the government to fund the National Clinical Programmes for mental health and to prioritise reducing wait times for suicide related assessments in CAMHS. These unacceptable waiting times cannot be allowed to continue.”