Scores of schoolchildren taking their own lives

Seventy young suicides last year alone.

Sligo News File

The Dail has been told that 70 children of schoolgoing age have taken their own lives last year.

Pat Buckley TD

Deputy Pat Buckley also said the number did not include children between the ages of 16 and 18 years who were not at school.

He said he was informed of the situation at the Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care.

The programme for Government, he said “contains a commitment to conduct an evidence-based expert review of the current status of implementation of international best practice in mental health services in Ireland.”

He went on to say that “it is almost two years since that commitment was given in the programme for Government, but the chronic shortage of staff has not improved and the
plan is not working.”

He called for the embargo on the recruitment of front-line staff to be lifted and everything necessary is done to staff CAMHS teams.

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly said the situation “it is not just about resources; it also about finding skilled and qualified staff.

“Since 2012 over 2,000 staffing positions have been approved, but to date, we have only been able to fill 1,352 of them in mental health services. That is not down to finance but to the availability of staff such as consultant psychiatrists, of whom there is a scarcity worldwide, not just in Ireland. That is the recruitment challenge we face in dealing with the increasing demand for mental health services.

“As the Deputy is aware, €910 million has been allocated for mental health services, an increase of €200 million in the past five years,” he added