Children’s Ombudsman’s report on CAMHS is concerning for Wicklow families with nowhere to turn to for help

Jennifer Whitmore Purple

Wicklow TD Jennifer Whitmore has raised concerns following the publication of a report from the Ombudsman for Children. This report  paints a worrying picture of mental health services for children and teenagers in Ireland, according to Social Democrats TD.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on Children, said:

“More than 2,100 children aged between 12 and 17 participated in the mental health survey. Access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) was identified as a major issue – something I am hearing all the time from parents all around Co. Wicklow. I have spoken to families whose children are experiencing high anxiety regarding school, returning to social activities post Covid, and many of whom are struggling due to online communications via social media.

“The survey found that six in ten children had difficulty accessing CAMHS, which is completely unacceptable. Here in Wicklow I have been contacted by families who feel there is simply nowhere for them to turn. The struggle for many Wicklow families to get registered with GPs is also contributing as people can’t get refereals to mental health services their children badly need.

“Its equally concerning that almost half of those who attended services did not feel it had helped with their mental health issues. More than a quarter of the children felt CAMHS staff had been dismissive of them, while only 11 per cent believed they had been listened to.

“There are now almost 12,000 children waiting for primary care psychology services, of which 4,270 have been waiting for over a year. This report also raises serious questions about the standard and quality of care that young people and children receive when they finally access mental health services.

“The Minister for Health and HSE must urgently respond to the survey’s findings and immediately outline how they will address the needs of children and adolescents who struggle with their mental health across Wicklow, and the whole country.”

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