CONCERN has been raised over the level of resources in the Wicklow Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
According to Fianna Fáil TD Pat Casey, another 54 staff members would be required to bring levels up to that recommended in the Vision for Change mental health policy document which was published 11 years ago.
While the document was never fully implemented, Deputy Casey says that an increase of just one staff member this year is unacceptable and that if the service grows at the same rate going forward, it could take 12 years to meet that recommended staffing level.
‘In Wicklow’s region, which is CHO6, there is a shortfall of 54 positions with only one additional post in an entire year. We are still awaiting the long-promised Jigsaw service for Bray and there are no plans in place for services in south and west Wicklow, which is totally unacceptable.
‘ The jigsaw project for Bray should be rolled out immediately and then use that as a platform to roll out services that all our young people can access, particularly in Arklow and west Wicklow,’ he said.
‘ This really is just not good enough. To think that it would take almost a quarter of a century to implement a ten-year plan for community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services is a shocking indictment of our health services,’ he added.
A spokesperson for the HSE said that the Vision for Change document is still a ‘work in progress’.
‘ The Wicklow Mental Health Service for children and adolescents is provided by St John of God Community Services under a service arrangement with the HSE.
‘Nationally, the Vision for Change policy document remains a work in progress. Both the HSE and St John of God Child & Adolescent Services are working in partnership to increase staffing as resources become available both nationally and locally,’ the spokesperson said.
The HSE also said that the Jigsaw service is to be discussed as part of an ‘overall Youth Mental Health Service Provision’.
‘A task force on Youth Mental Health was established by the former Minister for Mental Health, and had wide representation across departments. Their report has been concluded and is awaiting formal approval,’ the spokesperson added.
At present, St John of God provides Mental Health outpatient clinics for children and adolescents in Arklow, Wicklow and west Wicklow.
Deputy Pat Casey.