Gerry Adams says the Irish Government are failing Ireland's young people who need mental health support services
Louth Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams has accused the government of "failing young people in need of mental health supports".
The Louth TD revealed that in the Community Healthcare Organisation Area 8, which covers Louth/Meath, Laois/Offaly and Longford/Westmeath "the number of staff required to meet the Vision for Change recommendations is just over 60% of the number identified".
Teachta Adams said: "There are 172,373 young people between the ages of 0-18 living in CHO8. This region has the greatest number of young people in the state."
However, he added: "Despite that, this region only has 94.4 whole time equivalents in post or 60% of the number recommended in Vision for Change - the strategy document which sets out the direction for Mental Health Services. That report recommended that CHO8 required 151.7 whole time equivalents.
"Last June, as a result of work by my colleague Louise O’Reilly TD which revealed that CAMHS teams were operating with just 53% of the staff necessary under a ‘A Vision for Change’. There were promises made by government that this disastrous staffing gap would be addressed."
The Louth TD continued: “This was especially true after the Seanad Public Consultation Committee Report on Children’s Mental Health Services found that the increase in mental health problems and in child population had not been matched by an increase in services. However, we now know that CAMHS teams across the state are on average only at 56.1% of the total staff needed.
“While Louth/East Meath, which is part of CHO8, is slightly better off at 62%, the CAMHS teams are dealing with a greater number of young people and the availability of staff is still a matter of serious concern.
“Last week, the Children’s Rights Alliance published its annual report. According to the Alliance, ‘there were 6,811 children under the age of 17 waiting for a community-based psychology appointment at the end of July 2017; a third had been waiting over a year. 394 Children aged five to 17 make up 80 per cent of people waiting for an appointment nationwide.’
“This is a disgraceful consequence of government failure to investment properly in mental health services. Children who need mental health supports are not getting it. ‘A Vision for Change’ recommends that youth mental health services be fully staffed at 1,047 whole time equivalent staff.”