Teachta Ward was speaking after the release of updated figures by BodyWhys of people making contact with the Eating Disorders Association of Ireland and accessing their services in 2021. The Dublin Mid-West TD said “The recent figures released by BodyWhys are a cause for concern. “With an increase in people contacting and accessing eating disorder services there is an urgent need in addressing this crisis in our mental health system.
“I have been calling for an increase in funding for eating disorder services since becoming the Sinn Féin spokesperson on mental health. “The fact that there are only three public adult eating disorder beds in this state is a testament to the fact that this government and previous governments have failed to address this problem. “As society has returned to some form of normality after lockdowns from Covid-19, it is not surprising that we are seeing an increase in people seeking mental health support.
“Whilst the increase is concerning it is also positive to see more people being able to recognise that they may need help. “What we need now from the government is an urgent response. We need an increase in funding, staff and services. “I have requested information from the HSE for people attempting to access public services being referred to private services. These figures are not collected by the HSE. How can we have an appropriate response if we do not have correct figures.
“Once again there is no forward planning by the government and our services are being oversubscribed and under-resourced. What we need now is to carry out a review of the National Clinical Programme for Eating Disorders and increase funding to establish dedicated eating disorder multi-disciplinary teams including increased inpatient capacity and eating disorder mini hub teams in each CHO area. “Sinn Féin is calling for these in our alternative budget and would implement this in government.”