Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill says young people in the county are being left behind as a result of staff shortages in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
The latest figures releases to Fianna Fáil reveals a huge gap in staff in CHO5, which includes South Tipperary – with an additional 75 staff needed to bring it in line with the recommendations from A Vision for Change. In CHO3, which takes in North Tipperary, there is a staff shortfall of 32.
Deputy Cahill raised the issue in the Dáil last week.
“Children are living in a difficult era of social media and outside pressures. This combined with the difficulty of added academic pressures, may generate anxieties or other mental health problems for young children or teenagers”, said Deputy Cahill.
“The continuing growth of drug use in our communities is a major cause of concern for parents. There is no doubt that the increased use of drugs is having a direct impact on mental health issues, and unfortunately, we have seen a number of cases where young people have taken their own lives.
“We need to see more acute mental health beds made available, combined with a proper out of hours mental health service with counselling services that young people can fully engage with. We also need a focused strategy to establish what so many young people are using drugs to mask their problems.
“Unfortunately, these services are completely overstretched and understaffed. Young people have nowhere to turn for dedicated support without a lengthy period before receiving treatment.
“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 Cahill.