Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne says the government’s failures in children’s mental health services has been highlighted in the latest report card from the Children’s Rights Alliance.

The group has concluded that things have gotten worse for children with mental health issues in the last year – awarding the government a D-, compared to a D+ last year.

Deputy Browne commented, “It is clear that this government is leaving children with mental health issues behind.  A Vision for Change has still not been fully implemented, twelve years after it was published, waiting lists for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are unacceptably long; and children are still being treated in adult psychiatric units.  These are clear failures that this government is simply not addressing effectively.

“Staffing across the CAMHS services is one of the key problems, with just over half the required number in place.   If we look at Children’s Mental Health Intellectual Disability Teams the situation is infinitely worse – 159 staff are needed to provide the services but only 12 are currently employed.  This is nothing short of a disgrace.

“Unless there is a concerted effort to prioritise children’s mental health services, more children will continue to fall through the cracks.  It’s completely unacceptable that a young person can only access out of hours mental health services by going to a hospital Emergency Department – this is a wholly inappropriate environment for them to be forced into.

“The 2019 HSE service plan contains a commitment to develop seven day a week CAMHS service but fails to set out a clear mechanism by which this can be achieved.  This government cannot be allowed to make grand plans and announcements without delivering on their promises.  I will be actively engaging with the relevant stakeholders to push for a full 24/7 CAMHS service for young people in this country and I will be pushing Ministers Harris and Daly to ensure that their commitments are seen through”, concluded Deputy Browne.