Ciara McCormack, of Sinn Féin
A spotlight needs to be shone on the impoverished state of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at present, according to Ciara McCormack, Sinn Féin candidate for County Tipperary.
Barely half the necessary staff-levels needed have been filled despite this issue being raised with Minister Simon Harris this time last year, says Ms McCormack. “There is a stark deficit in services which is acutely felt all over County Tipperary.
“The Children’s Rights Alliance recently revealed that nearly 7,000 children under the age of 17 were waiting for a community based psychology appointment at the end of last July — with one third of those waiting for more than a year.
“Just one child in the Dublin region was left waiting for over a year, compared with 222 children in the CAMHS unit serving Carlow/Kilkenny/South Tipperary and Waterford/Wexford.
“It is impossible for these children to get the help they need when 'A Vision for Change' recommends that youth mental health services be fully staffed at 1,047 whole time equivalent staff, yet as of last December CAMHS teams had just 587 full time equivalent doctors and nurses.
“At present and for quite some time now, around half of positions in CAMHS teams across the country are vacant.
“This means that, in many cases, no consultant psychiatrist to assess new presentations or no clinical psychologist to support that assessment.
“There are also gaps across the teams in different, but essential, disciplines.
“CAMHS is simply not meeting the needs of young people who are often in very desperate circumstances and need immediate care.”
“As part of Sinn Féin’s comprehensive Mental Health plan we must see the establishment of at least 12 additional Child and Adolescent Mental Health Teams nationally as a start to ensuing our young people have the support and services that they deserve.
“Action on this issue as well as mental health services across County Tipperary must be addressed without delay,” concluded Ms McCormack.