Mental health waiting lists for children still too long – Lynch

31 July 2017

Reacting to the latest HSE figures on the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Labour Party spokesperson on Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch, has called on the Government and the HSE to take more action to reduce waiting times.

Ms Lynch commented:

“Today, through figures published by the HSE we have learned that 1,784 children have been waiting over a year for an appointment with a psychologist and a further 789 have been waiting for more than nine months.

“We should be seeing improvements in waiting times for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, yet despite the Government pledging to fully implement the Vision for Change in mental health in the Confidence and Supply agreement with Fianna Fáíl, there has been no improvement in this area.

“As a Minister I fought tooth and nail to secure new additional funding for advancing developments in mental health services every year, and then ensure it stayed in place. Compared to 2012, the day to day mental health budget is now over €115 million higher, alongside substantial capital investment that has taken place.

“We are now starting to see the impact of that funding on frontline services, but more will have to be done each year.

“With the shortage of supply of clinical psychologists, the HSE needs to be more proactive in not only recruiting but also in producing clinical psychologists.

“The Doctor of Clinical Psychology programme in University College Cork is a programme that could be replicated across other third level institutions nationwide. With 1 in 4 people suffering from poor mental health, there is a shortage of clinical psychologists, and programmes like those in UCC will deliver essential trained frontline staff every year.

“The HSE also needs to seriously consider using the services of counselling psychologists to help alleviate pressures on waiting lists.”

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