Parents claim mental health services in the North West are totally ‘inadequate’

A day of protest is being held in April to highlight the lack of investment in mental health services in areas like the north west.

A meeting of a group of Sligo parents heard today that the waiting list for accessing the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in the North West is currently closed due to resource issues.

Parents say many have been forced to take out loans to try and have their children assessed privately because they cannot access the public service.

The Enough is Enough campaign group is organising a march from the Autism Services office on the Mailcoach road in Sligo to the CAMHS office at Nazareth House on the third of April to highlight the problems facing child and adolescent mental health services in this region.

A group of parents met with Sinn Fein Health spokesperson in the Dail Louise O’Reilly in the Glasshouse Hotel this morning.

The meeting was organised by Sinn Fein Councillor Thomas Healy so that parents could outline their experiences and the urgency that the matter requires.

Jade Donlon’s daughter is six and she noticed some behavioural issues with her at just 18 months which caused issues at her creche and subsequently at school.

She told Ocean FM News today the issues she has faced as a result of the difficulty in getting a diagnosis:

Yvonne Rainey’s son is 8 and was diagnosed with epilepsy at two and she was forced to go to see a private consultant in Dublin to get a diagnosis.

She says she was waiting 7 months for an urgent referral to CAMHS while other parents have been waiting up to two years.

She says they have organised the march on the third of April to highlight the extreme pressure the local CAMHS staff are under here in the North West and to call for more support:

Louise O’ Reilly says she will raise the issue in the Dail and is calling for urgent action on the issue:

However, in a statement to Ocean FM News, the HSE says that the difficulty in recruiting a lead consultant psychiatrist for the region is not down to resources but a shortage of these consultants.

The HSE has clarified that it is having difficulty recruiting for the current vacancy of lead consultant psychiatrist for the Sligo Leitrim area.

However, it is reassuring people that any child in crisis will be dealt with.

It says that every effort is being made to fill the current vacancy which it says is being treated as a priority.

However, the HSE has clarified that it is not in fact a resource issue but it reflects a national shortage of Consultant Psychiatrists and says there have been difficulties filling all of these posts.