WAITING lists for youth mental health in Donegal have been branded ‘extremely worrying’ as waiting times for an appointment with Jigsaw are currently up to eight weeks.
Sinn Féin TD for Donegal, Pearse Doherty, has called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution.
Demand for the Jigsaw service in Donegal and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Donegal currently waiting eight weeks.
Teachta Doherty said Jigsaw has experienced a 42 per cent increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears.
“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question to Sinn Fein spokesperson for Mental Health, Mark Ward TD , have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital support to young people in Donegal.
“I have met with the Jigsaw team and I know first-hand the incredible work they do. I am calling for increased support for them.
“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future. Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk.
“Young peoples’ mental health has been adversely affected during the pandemic. Loss of schooling, sports, peer support and even their ability to socialise with friends have impacted on their mental health.
“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker. Some areas have a 3-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks. It is extremely worrying that there is a two-month wait in Donegal.
“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.
“I, along with my Sinn Féin colleagues, have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” said Teachta Doherty.
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