Mental health supports for young people

 

Sir, – I am writing in relation to Dr Helen Buckley’s article “Not enough being done to prevent youth suicide” (Opinion & Analysis, August 10th). The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) agrees with the views expressed by her in her article regarding the shortfalls in the provision of mental health supports for children and young people.

While the school guidance counselling and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) are essential pillars in supporting children and young people with mental health difficulties, they, of themselves, are insufficiently resourced to meet the demand for services. What is required is a more comprehensive approach which provides timely therapeutic counselling interventions for all children and young people in need. This would involve the referral of school-going children directly to professionally qualified counsellors. Similar school counselling services are already in place in the UK, and this approach has proven to be both successful and cost-effective. This system would help to fill the identified gap in onward referrals from schools, where children are generally experiencing lengthy delays in accessing CAMHS and other services.

The IACP is strongly advocating the introduction of such a system here. Our foremost hope is that any child or young person will be able to access the help they need, when they need it. – Yours, etc,

LISA MOLLOY,

Chief Executive,

Irish Association

for Counselling

and Psychotherapy,

Marina House,

Clarence Street,

Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin.