Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, and spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, have announced that they will bring forward proposals in the Dáil next week to ensure mental health services for children and young people are properly resourced, fully staffed and accessible when and where they are needed.
Teachta Ward said:
“Further scandals in our CAMHS have been laid bare this week, and the government needs to act urgently to ensure that we have services that are fit for purpose for our children and young people.
“The current services are not, and there are serious concerns and risks for patients currently accessing CAMHS.
“Where the government has failed, Sinn Féin wants to offer solutions. We would reform mental health services to ensure that they are properly resourced and fully staffed.
“Early intervention is key – all children and young people deserve the opportunity to reach their potential.
“Children and young people must have access to mental services when and where they need them.
“Services should be extended to 25 to prevent ‘cliff edge’ of 18 – the majority of acute long-term mental health difficulties develop between ages of 16 and 25.
“We are calling for multi-annual funding for CAMHS to be able to operate and forward plan, to be able to properly staff teams, and we are calling for integrated IT system to improve quality of care
“We want accountability in mental health services and so are calling for a national clinical director for mental health, a role that was removed in 2016.”
Teachta Cullinane added:
“Sinn Féin wants to empower CAMHS to be able to respond to issues raised in the Mental Health Commission’s interim report.
“The report did not come as a shock to any family who has experience of accessing CAMHS.
“Unfortunately they know too well that this government has been failing young people as waiting lists have dramatically increased under their watch.
“We must introduce national standards for monitoring antipsychotic medication.
“We must develop a joined-up, proactive, and comprehensive health and social care workforce strategy to increase education places and training opportunities between the Departments of Health and Higher Education, the HSE, Regional Health Areas/Hospital Groups, and higher education institutions.
“We must steadily increase undergraduate and post-graduate courses and training places for mental health professions based on evidence for required staffing levels and projected population needs to reduce reliance on overtime and international recruitment.
“Our mental health services are in crisis and I firmly believe we can do so much better. We owe it to our children and young people to deserve hope, solutions and mental health services that are fit for purpose.”
Sinn Féin’s motion can be read here.