Young people wait 6 months for mental health services

By Mary Dennehy

SOME 24 children and young people have been waiting up to six months to access mental health services in Dublin South West, with seven young people waiting longer than six months, reports Mary Dennehy.

In response to a Parliamentary Question by local TD Sean Crowe, the HSE confirmed at the end of August that 81 children and young people are awaiting mental health services in Dublin South West.

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According to the HSE, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Dublin South West are delivered across two teams by St John of God Lucena Clinic in partnership with the HSE.

Figures provided by the HSE show that waiting list/times to access services in Tallaght, across both teams, are 50 children waiting up to three months; 24 children waiting three to six months, and seven children waiting between six and nine months.

According to figures provided to The Echo for a previous article on CAHMS waiting times in June of this year, Team 1 (Tallaght) had 13.61 staff while Team 2 (Tallaght West) had 8.21 staff.

At that time, 356 young people were being treated by Team 1 and 264 by Team 2.

Figures provided to The Echo in June also stated that 70 young people were on the waiting list.

However, according to the most recent figures provided, 81 children and young people are now awaiting services – an increase of 11 young people in the space of two months.

Currently the service in Tallaght has advertised a Principal Psychologist vacancy.

In its response to Deputy Crowe, the HSE confirmed that this post was advertised on June 5, with a shortlist of applicants interviewed.

According to the HSE: “The Lucena Clinic is working with the HSE to ensure all approved posts are filled.

“Waiting times are dependent on urgency of presenting symptoms.

“Lucena Clinic operates a system with referrals seen based on need, i.e. emergencies are seen same or next day.

“Urgent cases are seen within a few days, and we aim to see routine cases within three months.”

Deputy Crowe (Sinn Féin) has criticised the “unacceptable” waiting lists for CAHMS in the Dublin South West area.

“The latest figures regarding the long wait some children are facing to access mental health services in Dublin South West are deeply worrying,” Deputy Crowe said.

“CAHMS is available for all young people and their families who are experiencing mental health difficulties, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, eating disorders and psychosis.

“The HSE has a target that no young person should wait more than three months for a CAMHS appointment and they are clearly breaking that.”

Deputy Crowe, who has called on the Minister for Health to fill the vacant post in Tallaght “urgently”, added: “No one, especially a young person in a mental health crisis, should have to wait months for an appointment.

“A cry for help from whatever quarter should be heard and seen as quickly as possible.

“The staff running CAMHS are working extremely hard and in difficult conditions.

“The inability of the government to address the crisis in children’s and youth mental health show they are not fit to run the health service.”

If you have been affected by this story and need support, please contact Pieta House Dublin South in Tallaght call 01 462 4792, for Pieta House Ballyfermot call 01 623 5606 and for Pieta House Lucan call

01 601 0000 or visit the charity’s website at www.pieta.ie.

Go to HOPE Suicide Prevention Centre Tallaght Facebook page or call 087 1363082 and Samaritans 116 1231.

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