Deering Calls for taskforce to deal with crisis in the provision of mental health supports for young people in Carlow

1st June, 2016

Fine Gael TD Pat Deering speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday (31st May) raised the serious issue of the lack of provision and availability of mental health supports for young people in Carlow.

Pat Deering said “Tragically, in the past eight weeks, two 14 year old boys have died in Carlow town. This has had a devastating impact on our whole community and placed an unprecedented demand on the regional youth service support services”.

Deputy Deering stated “The provision of early intervention mental health supports and services for young people in Carlow is in a state of crisis. The Carlow regional youth service offers an early intervention counselling service and runs two projects”.

The first of these, the Folláine counselling service, offers one-to-one support for vulnerable young people who are experiencing difficulties in their lives. The issues are more acute for young people than in previous years and interventions are taking longer. With the exception of the psychological service and child and adult mental health services, CAMHS, Folláine is the only support service that provides early intervention support for mental health and well-being in young people in Carlow town, which has a population of approximately 22,000. The service currently receives funding of approximately €30,000 per annum or €400 per client”.

The second project run by the Carlow regional youth service is the YARC project. In 2015, the two YARC project workers worked with 70 young people, with September being the busiest month. Both the YARC and Folláine projects have had effective outcomes for their clients, including return to mainstream education, improved emotional resilience and progression to mainstream youth work opportunities”.

Deputy Deering said “I am extremely concerned about the lack of services available to support the emotional health and well-being of young people in Carlow. Existing organisations are best placed to respond quickly and effectively to the current and future early intervention needs in the town”.

These services support and alleviate demand on the Health Service Executive and Tusla specialist services. The Carlow regional youth service is a complementary service provided to schools and also offers other statutory services. It was not established to replace HSE or TUSLA services. As matters stand, it cannot accept further new referrals with its current level of funding. Additional funding is required for both services.

Deering added “I believe a task force is required in Carlow to address the current difficulties in the town. In addition to the two young people who recently died by suicide, two adults died by suicide in Carlow in recent weeks. Unfortunately, Carlow has the third highest rate of suicide by area of residence. Recent figures show that the area’s suicide rate stood at 15.7 per 100,000 compared with a national rate of 11.3 per 100,000”.

In concluding Deputy Deering asked “the Minister of State to examine the issues raised and ensure additional funding is found for early intervention services and the establishment of a task force in Carlow”.