Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers has expressed her deep concern and frustration at the HSE over figures showing that in the first four months of this year 29 children were being treated within adult mental health services.
“Although the policy of the HSE is to provide an age appropriate mental health service, we still, in this day and age, have 29 children being treated within adult mental health services and this is just not acceptable by any means.”
Deputy Chambers also said she was appalled to learn that there were currently 97 vacancies in the mental health services for the Mayo, Galway, Roscommon area, and that 20 of these relate to CAMHS (The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service ).
"It is extremely worrying that while 2,333 young people in our region are receiving mental health treatment from the HSE, the service is understaffed by 20 professionals, because the HSE is unable to recruit or retain the required personnel to deliver an adequate service," she added.
“Enough is enough. Having access to adequate mental health services is vital and something that needs to be top priority. I’m extremely frustrated seeing these types of services being left off the agenda and I honestly don’t understand why the HSE and the Minister for Health don’t deem mental health services as a top priority. It honestly baffles me.
“These figures only show the first four months of this year, we are now almost three months after the fact, what is the figure now? Or more so, what will the figure be at the end of this year? Rest assured I will not be letting this go and I will do everything in my power as an elected representative to tackle this issue and ensure proper mental health services are put in place.”
Speaking about The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s annual report released last Thursday, she said, “This report is beyond shocking and the findings would shake anyone to the core. The report shows that Childline received 422,000 calls in 2015 from distressed children and adolescents. Thirteen per cent of these calls were related to mental health issues, that’s 54,860 children and adolescents.
“That figure is beyond heart wrenching and when we see that the HSE is understaffed and children are being left in adult mental health services along with some children waiting up to 18 months for referral to a child psychologist, it is beyond clear that what we are facing is a crisis when it comes to the lack of adequate mental health services in this country.
“It’s time to address this issue, and fast, young people should have the care they need when it comes to their mental wellbeing. I have stressed previously the change in our society and the pressure young people are under due to this. We need to adjust to this change and wake up to the facts, this is not something we can just ‘kick down the road’, suicide is one of the leading causes of death among young people in Ireland and we need to do everything we possibly can to alleviate this problem.”