Deputy Kathleen Funchion is the Sinn Fein spokesperson for Education
Speaking in the Dáil on the Mental Health Parity Bill 2017, Sinn Féin TD for Carlow-Kilkenny Kathleen Funchion said that parents find the faceless nature of accessing mental health and CAMHS (Child and Adult Mental Health Service) for children stressful and not accessible.
Teachta Funchion said:
“Parents who seek a CAMHS referral are initially asked to fill in a number of forms which they have 14 days to fill out and return.
“Parents have no idea how to fill out the forms, if they are filling them out accurately or placing their child in the correct category, all the while trying to deal with their child who is in crises.
“They then receive a pile of information leaflets outlining drop in clinics and other services while they are on the waiting list for an assessment with CAMHS.
“The service is faceless, there is no one to ring to help parents fill out forms, and they are left with no idea what to do to help their child and are tearing their hair out.
“Trying to get an appointment for their child to seek help for a mental health issue often coincides with a parent finding out that the issue exists in the first place.
"This is difficult for a parent to digest and to have to attempt to navigate the inaccessible mental health services provided by the HSE leaves parents feeling helpless, powerless and like they are failing their child.
“Waiting lists for services needs to be addressed so children are not left languishing on lists and carrying issues over into adolescence and adulthood that could have been addressed had they been seen in a timely manner by the correct service.
“It is yet another example of the State failing its children as it has so many times in the past.
"The Government cannot allow this situation to continue as it stands which is why I, and Sinn Féin, fully support the Mental Health Parity Bill 2017."