Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Dublin, John Lahart TD has said the current chronic staff shortages in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Dublin, is a scandal that is having an adverse impact on the development of children across the city.

New figures provided to Fianna Fáil reveal that just over half of the number of staff required are in place to meet the standard which was recommended under the ‘Vision for Change’ mental health policy published 11 years ago.

Deputy Lahart said, “Underfunding is one element of the on going problems in mental health but the insufficient numbers of staff is putting welfare of children and young adults dealing with mental health challenges at risk. This will continue to be the case if these key vacancies are not filled.

“The issue of recruitment currently facing CAMHS in Dublin is serious and leading children and teenagers to wait substantial periods of time for essential services including assessment and treatment.

“This Government is responsible for this shortfall.

“By failing to adequately provide mental health services we are impeding our own children’s ability to develop and fulfill their potential.

“Vulnerable young people require timely support that should be provided for by qualified personnel that understands their needs.

“Furthermore, sending a child or young person that is distressed or mentally unwell, to one of the Capital’s busy Emergency Department or to an acute adult facility for treatment has huge potential to contribute to their distress even further.

“Many families are not in a position to fund private mental health care for their child but that shouldn’t mean that they are left to deteriorate on a HSE waiting list.

“We can no longer leave it to charities and other organisations to intervene and provide these children with crucial assessment or counselling services.

“Through the Confidence & Supply Arrangement, Fianna Fáil secured an additional €35m for mental health funding in Budget 2018. This funding must be used to deliver incentives to attract staff into these vacant positions to ultimately improve waiting time for young people and their families,” concluded Deputy Lahart.