‘Children desperately in need of care’, says Limerick TD

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

‘Children desperately in need of care’, says TD of Limerick mental health services

Deputy Maurice Quinlivan: Young people waiting for more than a year for CAMHS services

SIXTY children in the Mid-West have been waiting for much-needed mental health services for more than a year, new figures show.

Figures received by Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan, show 245 children and young people in Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary were on a waiting list for children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) at the end of 2018.

Nationally, there were 2,560 children on the CAMHS waiting list, Deputy Quinlivan said.

Speaking in the Dail last week, he said that early intervention is “crucial”.

“But early interventions in mental health cases are not possible when there are extensive waiting lists and a sheer lack of capacity within the system. CAMHS is not meeting the needs of a large cohort of our children and young adults here in Limerick.

“Children and young adults who are desperately in need of care and help and who are reaching out for same are not getting the appropriate support in a timely manner.

“This is primarily due to the failure to recruit the staff needed to operate CAMHS teams.”

He said that the 10-year A Vision for Change mental health plan, launched 12 years ago, “has ceased to have any real meaning because it has been left unimplemented for so long”.

“Where children or young persons need care and help, they cannot be forced to stay on an extended waiting list that puts them and their mental health at serious risk.

“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.

“Mental health issues are emergency health issues; you would not expect anyone with a physical health emergency to wait over a year for treatment yet young people with mental health problems are expected to wait.

“These waiting periods are simply unacceptable and they put people at very serious risk.

“This current situation is unacceptable, we cannot approach every year in the same vain by paying lip service to mental health services and then not properly funding or staffing them. In 2019 there needs to be increased and targeted investment from this government to help ease soaring waiting lists for access to CAHMS services and save lives,” he stated last week.