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  • Senator Sharon Keogan

Mental Health & CAMHS

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

The area of mental is one that requires urgent attention. There is no one in Ireland untouched by it. The estimated prevalence of mental health disorders is relatively high in Ireland when compared to other European countries yet spending is relatively low by comparison according to the OECD figures in 2018.

The mental health budget was 1 billion in 2021 or 5% of the overall health budget compared with 12% in the UK and New Zealand. The mental health commission in 2019 has reported that the level of change in our mental health provision is uncoordinated, adhoc and slow. The issues highlighted included the need for best practices to be applied consistently across the country for specialist inpatient approved centres to be up to standard across the country and the need to continue to moving the treatment and recovery model to specialised professional community care. There is currently a deficit of approx. 100 consultants in mental health services. We will need 825 consultants by 2030 to meet the demand. Where will these consultants come from? If they're here in Ireland what do we need to do to get them into the job? If not how do we recruit them from abroad?

I've been advocating for the last 10/15 years and now that I'm here in the Seanad, I want to push that we need a dedicated counsellor in every school in Ireland. Our children are our future and we need to help them in every way and a 1-2 year waiting list doesn't cut it. If children had a counsellor in schools that they go and talk to it would be a big help to their mental well being as they could be waiting over a year for a CAMHS appointment.

We also need community crisis teams that can offer dedicated support to anyone who needs it. We need to do. More when it comes to online safety for our children. They need to be taught in an age-appropriate manner about the dangers of the internet and social media including how to engage in good online behaviour and things to avoid online.

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