Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth says children in the North West are being failed by the Government, as major staffing issues in the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service persist.

According to the latest figures released to Fianna Fail, 47% of all positions promised under the national Vision for Change strategy remain unfilled.  That’s 51 posts in the North West area alone.

Deputy Smyth commented, “I am deeply frustrated by the Government’s lack of urgency in adopting and implementing the Vision for Change policy.  This strategy was published more than a decade ago but we are falling well short of the staffing targets set out in it.  The scale of the staff shortages is very worrying – it’s becoming obvious that the service is struggling and this will have a major impact on the outcomes for children and teenagers who are depending on it.

“This Government claims that mental health is a priority but the reality is very different.  The severity of the staffing shortages in the CAMHS service is unsustainable and as a result children and teenagers could be put at risk.  There is still no out of hour’s service available for young people in the North West and there is no timeline or target in place for one to be established.

“The new Minister for Mental Health Jim Daly needs to take charge of this situation and fulfil the commitments made under A Vision for Change.  We have seen this Government make token gestures towards mental health, but the time has come for Ministers to step up to the mark and deliver the policies recommended in this strategy.

“There are countless reports of children and young adults seeking support, especially during out of hour’s periods, and there is no one there to help or support them.  We cannot allow vulnerable children to be pushed to the side any longer – we need to see Government action now”.