Children in Tipperary deserve better mental health - Deputy Martin Browne.

Call for better mental health services in Tipp

Tipperary Sinn Féin TD Martin Browne has said that children in Tipperary deserve better mental health services and should not have to wait to access them.

Deputy Browne was speaking ahead of legislation being brought forward by Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, to regulate CAMHS under the Mental Health Act, which will be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday.

Teachta Browne said: “Children in Tipperary deserve better mental health services. They should not have to wait to access mental health services.

“On Tuesday, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward, will bring forward a bill to regulate children’s mental health services.

“This is the first recommendation that was made by the Mental Health Commission in their report on CAMHS and if passed would give the Commission the statutory powers to oversee and implement the remainder of their 49 recommendations.

“This will drive improvements and help tackle waiting lists.

“The Mental Health Commission’s report into CAMHS highlighted a number of issues with CAMHS, including children lost to follow up, lack of monitoring of psychiatric medicines, unacceptable waiting times for high-risk referrals and many more operational issues.

“In the two health areas covering Co Tipperary both, north and south, each had an additional 101 children on waiting to be seen in August of 2023, when compared to the figures for July 2020.

“CHO3 which includes North Tipperary has a total of 297 children waiting to be seen, while the total for CHO5 which includes South Tipperary, has a total of 254. The number waiting for 52 weeks or more in CHO3 stands at 63, while for CHO5, 37 have been waiting for a year or more to be seen.

“We have also seen the unacceptable postcode lottery of care continue to exist with certain counties receiving a lower quality of care.

“Children with a dual diagnosis of mental ill-health and an intellectual disability are falling through the cracks as are neurodiverse children.

“Parents, children and stakeholders have been highlighting the crisis in children’s mental health which has gotten worse under this Government.

“Sinn Féin have engaged with families and stakeholders. We have listened to their experiences. We are taking them seriously.

“This is the first step in tackling the crisis in children’s mental health and will lay the foundation to reduce waiting lists.

“The minister has dragged her feet in this matter and now must support this legislation.

“This cannot be kicked down the road. Children in Tipperary cannot wait any longer for the regulation of CAMHS.”