Figures obtained by Fianna Fáil this month reveal huge shortages in staff numbers in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Kerry. The party used its Private Members Time this week to highlight concerns in mental health services across the country.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Primary Care and TD for Kerry John Brassil said, “Despite government claims that mental health is a priority, the latest figures provided to Fianna Fáil reveal that staffing levels in the CAMHS service across Kerry and Cork are just over half of what was recommended in A Vision for Change.

“The long waiting lists and the delays endured by the families of children in real need of services stem from the fact that there are severe shortages in staff. It’s been thirteen years since the national strategy was put in place, yet our area is functioning with only 56% of required staff.

“The Mental Health Commission’s annual report which was recently published exposed many of the ongoing deficiencies in mental health services across the board. Serious issues – such as children being treated in adult units, and concerns around restraints and seclusion – are becoming increasingly apparent and cannot be ignored.

“Over the past decade we have seen children and young people face new pressures from social media and online engagement; we should be broadening access to mental health services not limiting it even further. If CAMHS services are not up to scratch, we are letting down young people and limiting their potential.

“Addressing the deficits in mental health services and fully realising A Vision for Change must be made a priority. The government cannot continue to spin the baseless claims that they understand the severe, dangerous shortfalls that exist”, concluded Deputy Brassil.