Con­cern over level of staff in youth men­tal health ser­vices

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS - By DEB­O­RAH COLE­MAN

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.

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