Taoiseach takes on board concerns of local parents
Following on from articles in the Sligo Champion highlighting the need for better youth mental health services, Fine Gael TD Tony McLoughlin, has raised the issue in the Dáil.
Last Wednesday Deputy McLoughlin told Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Helen McEntee that improved resources are also needed for Sligo-Leitrim's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services to reduce the long waiting times.
Deputy McLoughlin asked the Taoiseach for an update on the progress of the delivery of recommendations in A Vision for Change- the policy framework for mental health services.
He said: "I ask this because, as I am sure he is aware after his meeting with Sharon Boles last week during his visit to Sligo, we urgently need a Jigsaw-like youth mental health service established in Sligo and Leitrim.
"We need improved resources for our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, CAMHS, in the region to reduce long waiting lists and we need to see the appointment of a lead consultant psychiatrist for this service as a matter of urgency."
He continued: "I was pleased to hear confirmation from the Taoiseach that he sent a note to the Minister of State with responsibility for mental health services, Deputy McEntee, arising from the meeting he had in Sligo with myself and Sharon in respect of several queries about facilities for mental health in the Sligo area.
He also confirmed that the process of appointment of a consultant will be worked on by the HSE."
"Deputy McEntee also advised me that 80% of the recommended positions have been implemented on a Vision for change, and several other positions have been approved pending staff. Five more Jigsaw facilities will open this year and there will be a be a new process for other counties to put themselves forward for more of this kind of facility."
Meanwhile parents of children with mental health difficulties in the region have formed a campaign group called, 'Our Voices for Their Future.' The committee held a meeting at St. Mary's GAA clubhouse last Wednesday to finalise a number of events and actions as part of the nationwide 'Enough is Enough' campaign.
The committee announced that the group will have a float in the Sligo St Patrick's Day parade this Friday.
At the meeting, a draft letter to the HSE was agreed upon, and a date for a meeting with the HSE was also agreed to. The concerned parents also decided to launch a social media campaign and are actively seeking other families to come forward to tell their stories about Child and Mental Health Care Services in the Sligo/Leitrim area.
Speaking after the meeting local councillor and committee member Cllr Thomas Healy stressed that: "The Our Voices for their Future group is campaigning for the full staffing levels of CAMHS to be implemented in Sligo/Leitrim but are also a broad based campaigning group advocating for stronger early intervention, respite and improved services for all children and adults with physical and mental disabilities.
Thomas stressed that the primary concern for the parents is that the HSE deliver on their obligations to these vulnerable children and young adults in the area.
The Sligo Champion has been highlighting the stories of many frustrated parents over the past few weeks and will continue to fight for their plight. A protest march will take place to CAMHS Sligo on April 3rd.