Shortage of youth mental health staff in west is shocking says Ó Clochartaigh

Sinn Féin senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

Sinn Féin senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

Sinn Féin senator, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, says that it is shocking that the Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS ) teams under the auspices of the HSE in Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon have only just over half of the staff they need to fulfil their duties

The Galway West – South Mayo senator said; “There is not a community in the west that hasn’t been touched by a tragedy in relation to youth mental health issues. The Government tell us that they are concerned and doing everything they can, yet we see from the figures released today that the HSE region of Galway/Mayo/Roscommon has only 57 per cent of the staff it should have according to its own policy.

“Under recommendations made in the Vision for Change strategy for mental health, staffing across the mental health services nationwide should have been at 12,760 for 2016 and 12,778 for 2017. The current level of staff is only 9,815 which is 2,985, or a quarter short of what is needed.

“The shortages in the CAMHS services, which deal with young people with mental health issues, are particularly worrying. In the west we are 50 staff members short, with only 56 delivering the services at present where we should have 106. The picture nationwide is very bleak with only 53 per cent of posts filled, leaving a massive 583 posts unfilled.

“There are significant difficulties in recruitment of specialist posts including consultant psychiatrists with specialisms in children, forensics, mental health and disability. There are also difficulties in recruiting psychiatric nurses and some allied health professionals such as psychologists, according to the HSE.

“The Government and the ministers with responsibility for health and mental wellbeing are failing our young people in this regard and we are calling on the new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to outline what his Government are doing to rectify this appalling situation.”

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