The Government of Ireland has announced an additional €10m ($10.6m) investment to enhance access to mental health services, with a particular emphasis on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).  

Ireland Mental Health and Older People Minister Mary Butler said that this funding has been secured through the Revised Estimates process. 

This investment for 2024 aims to geographically spread the benefits, better integrate services, improve access to services, as well as embed various new service models.  

With the additional funds, the government will facilitate recruitment of additional staff for CAMHS Hubs to offer intensive brief interventions to young people in acute crisis and provide an alternative to hospital admission. 

The funding will also be used for the continued roll-out of the National Clinical Programmes for mental health services. 

With a total increase of €12.7m in developmental funding for mental health services in 2024, the investment aligns with the ‘stepped care approach’ outlined under Ireland’s national mental health policy, ‘Sharing the Vision’. 

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The policy envisions a wide range of mental health services that allow individuals to access the level of required support, ranging from counselling and talk therapies to inpatient and residential services, as close to home as possible.  

Additionally, two test sites for a new single point of access to children’s services will be established under this plan, streamlining referrals for mental health, disability services and primary care. 

These sites will pilot a common referral pathway for kids and young people aged up to 25. 

Butler said: “Increased investment is having a real impact. There were 12% more CAMHS appointments offered to children and young people last year. Our waiting list for CAMHS services continues to fall, with nearly 500 fewer children waiting by the end of last year.  

“Additional funding this year will see more people working across CAMHS, with young people being seen more quickly. 

“My focus now is to expand CAMHS service delivery, as well as wider services for young people, and to expand the roll-out of our excellent National Clinical Programmes such as ADHD in Adults, Early Intervention in Psychosis and Eating Disorders to more areas of the country.”