Deputy Denis Naughten

Naughten secures Dáil debate on children’s mental health services

Local TD Denis Naughten has secured a debate this Thursday in Dáil Éireann where the Minister for Health will address the ongoing crisis in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services as exposed once again by the Mental Health Commission report.

“The interim report is extremely damning and highlights similar serious safety concerns that I have brought to the attention of HSE management with regard to both children and adolescents,” stated Denis Naughten.

“While the interim report does not cover Counties Roscommon and Galway on a number of occasions, both privately and publicly, I have highlighted similar problems with the CAMHS locally. Our mental health service is in crisis and affecting those who are most vulnerable, our children.

“One of the issues highlighted in the Mental Health Commission report is a serious lack of governance identified in many areas resulting in inefficient and unsafe CAMHS services. The Minister for Health must ensure, as a priority, that there is immediate regulation of CAMHS, under the Mental Health Act 2001.”

The report calls for immediate clinical review of all open cases in all CAMHS teams. It goes on to describe a dysfunctional system, a lack of out-of-hours support, long waiting lists, staffing issues and inability to provide therapeutic interventions. Children are not receiving follow-up care and are getting lost in the system.

“I welcome the commitment given to me last night by the Government Chief Whip, Minister Hildegarde Naughton TD, that time will now be made available to discuss this report on Thursday. It is imperative that the Minister for Health address the issues highlighted in the Mental Health Commission report in all nine HSE regions immediately and outline measures to provide a safe and supportive service for our most vulnerable. Dedicated funding is now required for CAMHS.

“In 2020, this Government supported the Regional Group members’ Mental Health Motion. It called on the Government to protect not only the population's physical health but also its mental health. Since then, little has been done to address the issues highlighted with children’s mental health services,” concluded Deputy Naughten.