Less than half the recommended staff are in place to deal with increasing waiting lists for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), the staff shortages are severely letting down young people in South Dublin and beyond. Figures obtained this month reveal an almost 60% shortage in required staff providing Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Dublin South West. Commenting on the information, local Tallaght Councillor Charlie O’Connor said, “Despite being the largest Community Healthcare Organisation area in the country, our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have less than half the clinical staff required and as specified in the State’s mental health strategy, *A Vision for Change.* “The long waiting lists and the delays endured by the families of children in real need of services stem from the fact that there are severe shortages in staff. It’s been thirteen years since the national strategy was put in

place, yet our area has only fulfilled 43% of the staffing requirements. As a member of the Regional Health Forum for Dublin Mid-Leinster, this is sadly not the first time I have been made aware of inadequacy’s within mental health services.

“The Mental Health Commission’s annual report which was recently published exposed many of the ongoing deficiencies in mental health services across the board. The serious issues are becoming increasingly apparent and cannot be ignored. “During an era that has imposed altogether new pressures on children and young people including social media and the internet we should be broadening access to mental health services not limiting it even further. If CAMHS services are not up to scratch, then we are letting down young people heading into the prime of their lives and stifling their prospects or at least delaying their growth. “We are told to assure anyone in crisis to seek help or reach out for mental health support, but the system isn’t in the position to provide that help. It’s a fallacy really. “Addressing the deficits in mental health services and fully realising *A Vision for Change* must be made a priority. Otherwise the Government cannot continue to spin the baseless claims that they understand the severe, dangerous shortfalls that exist.”