Youth Council calls for measures to reduce waiting lists for mental health services as part of a number of costed measures detailed in its Pre-Budget Submission launching today
We need greater investment in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and guidance counselling as a concrete step towards promoting positive mental health and supporting young people with mental health difficulties. That was the message from James Doorley, National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) Deputy Director, speaking in advance of the publication today (08.08.17) of the organisation’s pre-budget submission.
In its Pre Budget 2018 submission ‘A Million Good Reasons’ the NYCI, which represents youth organisations working with over 380,000 young people nationwide, is calling for an investment of €32m in youth mental health initiatives, as well as a range of other areas affecting young people including unemployment, homelessness, alcohol and education fees.
Mr Doorley said: “Census 2016 indicates that our population aged 10-24 years will increase to over one million by 2025. With this in mind, our Pre Budget 2018 submission recommends costed measures that will help Government to invest in policies, services and supports to meet the needs of young people today, while preparing for demographic pressures in the coming years.”
“There have been a number of welcome initiatives to tackle mental health issues including the establishment of the National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health and the publication of ‘Connecting for Life’ the National Strategy to Reduce Suicide 2015-2020.
“However, the issue still looms large in the lives of Irish young people. While the overall number of people dying by suicide has declined, for example, there has been an increase among young men. And, of particular concern is the fact that the suicide rate for young people aged 15-19 here in Ireland is the fourth highest in the EU.
“The evidence suggests that in many schools, guidance counselling services are a vital first ‘port of call’ for some young people with concerns and problems which may impact on their mental health. To date two thirds (400 of the 600 posts) of the guidance allocation lost in 2012 will be restored by September 2017.
“We recommend that the balance of 200 posts should be restored in Budget 2018, this increased investment will cost €12.6m,” stated Mr Doorley.
Waiting lists for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
“Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are another vital part of the state’s efforts to support young people with mental health issues. The service is delivered by 67 CAMHS teams and three paediatric teams supported by 66 operational beds nationally. In 2017, it is expected that 18,500 children and young people under 18 years will access the service. In February 2017, there were 2,520 children and young people on a waiting list for mental health services, up 44% over the same period in 2016,” continued Mr Doorley.
“Uniquely in Europe, Ireland has a growing youth population. It is, therefore, critical that the staff and resources are available to assist young people with mental health difficulties when they need them; otherwise the waiting lists will continue to increase.
“NYCI recommends that an additional investment of €20m is allocated in Budget 2018 to complete the process of bringing the staff complement in CAMHS up to that proposed in the government policy document on the issue: ‘A Vision for Change’.”
Alongside youth mental health, the NYCI Pre-Budget 2018 submission details a range of costed measures and calls for action on:
- Enhancing Youth Work Services
- Halving Long Term Youth Unemployment
- Equality for Young Jobseekers
- Equality for Young Workers
- Tackling Youth Homelessness
- Enhancing Youth Mental Health Supports and Services
- Easing the Financial Burden on Students in Third Level Education
- Greater Contribution to the Cost of Alcohol Related Harm
The full NYCI Pre-Budget 2018 Submission ‘A million good reasons’ can be found here: http://www.youth.ie/nyci/Million-Good-Reasons-NYCI-Pre-Budget-Submission-Budget-2018-0
For further information, please contact Daniel Meister, Communications Manager at NYCI on or 087 781 4903 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
National Youth Council of Ireland
The National Youth Council of Ireland is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests of voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.
Sources (on mental health statistics) on page 18 and 18 of NYCI Pre Budget 2018 submission: