09/08/2018

2,700 Children Waiting To Access Mental Health Services

Some 2,700 children are waiting to be seen by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services amid a recruitment and retention crisis in the sector.

Figures from the HSE were released to Sinn Féin Health spokesperson, Louise O'Reilly, and reveal that there is currently 13 vacant consultant posts and a shortage of psychiatric nurses.

Teachta O'Reilly said: "Nowhere is the recruitment and retention crisis in the health service having a more devastating impact than in the area of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

"(Of) the 74 beds in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Units across the State only 50 are actually open 'due to staff shortages'.

"The HSE also revealed to me that there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people.

"While demand for the Jigsaw service continues to grow the provision of resources has not kept pace.

"As a result, of the 13 areas where Jigsaw provides services, there are difficulties in meeting the target waiting time of 4 working weeks in Cork, Limerick, Galway, Meath, Donegal, Dublin city, Tallaght, Clondalkin, and North Fingal.

"Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future."

(MH)

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