Outrage over adolescent mental health shambles
COUNCILLORS were united in their support for a motion calling on Health Minister Simon Harris to employ more people in child and adolescent mental health (CHAMS) services in the county.
Sinn Fein Cllr Johnny Mythen brought the motion, pointing out that only one consultant psychologist post exists for counties Wexford and Waterford which have a combined population of 260,000.
'Taking into account people are waiting up to 18 months and beyond for assessment appointments, urgent action is needed.'
Cllr Mythen said: 'It's something we have all come across. People self harming or with suicidal ideation.'
Cllr George Lawlor described the lack of care for children and teenagers with mental health problems as at crisis levels.
'These people are waiting for beds. They are people who are at their absolute lowest and in dangerous situations. They are being left in day wards while awaiting the services of CHAMS.'
Cllr Deirdre Wadding said County Wexford has double the national average of suicides each year.
Cllr Larry O'Brien supported the motion, saying it should go to the HSE forum which meets in Cork regularly. Cllr Tony Dempsey said a delegation from Wexford County Council needs to meet with Minister Harris as the county is a 'special case when it comes to mental health'.
Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin said CHAMS services opened three years ago in Tara House in Gorey, adding that now charity Talk to Tom is providing a lot of similar services. 'Services like Talk to Tom are filling the gap but they don't get one cent of statutory funding. It's a shocking indictment of the Government's attitude to child and adolescent mental health services.'
The motion was supported.