Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said the increase in waiting times for the Jigsaw youth mental health service is “extremely worrying” and urged the government to act as a matter of priority, saying that waiting times for a first appointment in Dublin South West have doubled in a year.

Teachta Crowe has called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution and ensure young people can get mental health supports without unnecessary delays.

Teachta Crowe said:

“Figures released to Sinn Féin by the HSE through a Parliamentary Question have revealed extremely worrying wait times for Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people.

“In Dublin South West, there are currently 272 young people waiting for a first appointment. On average, young people in Dublin South West are waiting for 17 weeks for a first appointment. This is an increase from 9 weeks in 2021.

“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. These wait times are simply unacceptable and put those in need of help and their mental health at a very serious risk.

“Behind every number is a young person who needs help and should have access to services in a timely way. This cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears.

“Children and young people in Dublin South West deserve better. We need to move away from the postcode lottery for mental health treatment.

“I am urging the Minister to urgently engage with the service to ensure this is resolved. We must see adequate funding and resources put in place to end these long waits.”