Minister of State and Kildare South Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon is seeking additional state funding for Mental Health supports for Young People in Kildare.

“The growing demand for mental health supports for young people in Kildare has not been matched by a parallel growth in services here and so young people are experiencing significant difficulty accessing the supports they need, when they need them.

“At a recent meeting with Kildare CYPSC (Children & Young People’s Service Committee) and Kildare LCDC (Local Community Development Committee), the committees outlined the resources required to implement an integrated model for youth mental health in Kildare.

“The identified needs include funding to fill vacancies and for additional staffing posts in the primary care psychology services, an additional CAMHS team to service the South Kildare area, additional counselling posts and the establishment of a Jigsaw Mental Health project.

“There is currently no Jigsaw Youth Mental Health project in Co. Kildare. Given that Kildare has the highest proportion of people under the age of 25 in the state and that the Jigsaw model is focused on prevention and early intervention for young people aged 12-25, it is essential in my opinion, that we secure a Jigsaw project for County Kildare.

“I have written to Mary Butler, Minister of State for Older People and Mental Health to highlight the need for this additional investment in mental health supports for young people in Kildare.  Kildare is still playing catch up on the provision of certain services to support our growing population and this is a vital area where additional supports are required.

“There are a significant number of towns with high numbers of young people in which no service is currently provided, such as Kildare Town, Castledermot and Monasterevin and there is a limited service provided in Athy, Rathangan and West Wicklow.

“In December 2019, there were 144 young people to be seen or waiting to be seen by CAMHS in the Kildare/West Wicklow and Dublin South area.  Of these 144, 65 were waiting to be seen by one of the 4 CAMHS teams serving Kildare.

“In 2019 there were a total of 21 suicides in Co. Kildare [all ages]. 17 Males and 4 Females. Only 4 counties recorded a higher number: Wexford, Cork City, Tipperary and Limerick County. The rate of suicide in Kildare has exceeded the national average for all years since 2011.

Minister Heydon continued “The above figures are not just statistics, they are children, young adults, families and extended families in County Kildare. That is why as a TD for Kildare South and now a Government Minister, I continue to fight for improved mental health services and increased investment in the mental health needs of Kildare residents, particularly in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health.

I am pleased with the progress of plans to develop a new standalone Lakeview acute service on the grounds of Naas Hospital, something that I have fought for over a number of years.

“I continue to strongly advocate within Government that Kildare receives significant investment to redress the balance in terms of equitable resourcing of mental health supports for our young people.  This is about creating a solid platform from where the current and future needs of our younger citizens can be identified and addressed.”