Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says the Government is failing children in Cavan and Monaghan  with no on-call mental health service available in either county.  Despite promises that mental health is a priority, services in this region remain well short of what is needed.

“The fact that children in Cavan and Monaghan have no access to an out of hours Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) team speaks volumes about the seriousness with which this Government is dealing with the issue of mental health.  According to figures released to my party’s Spokesperson on Mental Health, there are 15 counties out of 26 that have no out of hours service.  This is truly shocking and a damning indictment of the Government’s commitment to the area”, said Deputy Smith.

“While I appreciate that demand for these services is increasing, we have been told that the budget for mental health services has been increased and ring-fenced over the past number of years.  If this is truly the case, where is the money being spent?  And why has service provision not increased?

“It is extremely worrying that there is no out of hours service in Cavan or Monaghan.  This means children are reliant on out of hours GP services, their local hospital or even the Gardaí if a situation arises outside of office hours.

“The Mental Health Commission has already highlighted that under-investment in services for children is one of the factors contributing to the continuing high number of admissions of children to adult psychiatric units. This practice is one which must come to an end. The delivery of 24-hour emergency services for children is fundamental in helping to achieve this.

“I am calling on Minister McEntee to ensure that funding for Child and Adolescent Community Mental Health Teams is considerably increased so that out of hours  can be extended to the counties which currently have no service.  This must be done as a matter of priority so that children across the country have access to essential services”.