SINN Féin TD for Limerick City Maurice Quinlivan has said the waiting times for the Jigsaw youth mental health service are worrying, and has called on the Health Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution.
Waiting times for an appointment with Jigsaw are currently up to 16 weeks in Limerick.
Deputy Quinlivan said: “Figures released through a Parliamentary Question to Sinn Féin spokesperson for Mental Health, Mark Ward, have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Limerick.
“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Limerick 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 Limerick currently waiting up to 16 weeks.
“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 supports and even their ability to socialise with friends have impacted on their mental health. Jigsaw have 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.
“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker. Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks. 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 have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” the Limerick TD concluded.