Browne speaks out on Mental Health service provision in Tipperary

Teachta Browne said:
“What we have seen in South Kerry recently indicated the challenges facing young people in securing
the appropriate mental health services in a system that has not been designed around their needs.
“The lack of resources and the poor rollout of mental health supports in general has been well
known for some time.
“We saw astonishing mixed messages coming from Minister Butler around the opening the Jigsaw
service in Thurles.
“We saw how the thousands of people who turned out on the streets of Clonmel demanding that St
Michael’s be retained, were all ignored.
“And the government says it is taken back by recent events.
“Give me a break.
“It’s been caused and made worse by a lack of urgency on the part of the government who now say
that it is difficult to find the Psychologists, OTs, SLTs and so on that the HSE South East told me last
week are being sought in my constituency.
“Well, this is what happens when for decades, understaffing and under-resourcing have made it an
unattractive prospect.
“It is a problem of the government’s own making.
“I raised how one mother from North Tipperary told my office that in her view her local CAMHS
service had an over-reliance on the prescribing of medication to her child.
“There was no referral to counselling, just medication.
“When they tried to get back in contact with CAMHS about easing the medication for a number of
reasons, their calls weren’t returned for two months.
“If immediate medication is being seen as the stopgap measure they must revert to until counselling
and psychology services are available, then children are continuing to be failed.
“Towards the end of last year, in the health area that includes North Tipperary, of the 414 waiting
for child psychology services, 32% were waiting more than a year. So, there is a clear capacity issue.
“But in CHO5 which includes South Tipperary, the number waiting a year or more, while still too
high, is far lower than the North of the County.
“So, the availability of services is a postcode lottery. This is no way to be treating our children.
“We see the State relying on the community and voluntary sector to make up for the shortfall in
counselling and therapy services, by expecting them to be able to provide their wonderful services
for either no funding or for low level, short term funding at best.

“For these reasons, our motion called on the government to tackle extreme waiting lists and clinical
oversight deficiencies in child and adolescent health services. It demands that the government put in
place a proactive strategy for the recruitment and retention of psychologists across CAMHS, and for
legislation to end the practice of placing children into adult psychiatric facilities.
“The current situation is failing thousands of children and thousands of adults who simply can’t get
the support and treatment they need.”