Figures obtained by Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD show that there are 199 people waiting for counselling in Co Meath. Through the CaPA counselling program, as part of the National Counselling Service, 26 people are waiting for ongoing counselling, seven of them have been waiting between three and six months and a further eight have been waiting more than six months. The CaPA service is for adults who’ve endured childhood abuse.
There are 172 people waiting for an initial counselling assessment with CIPA (Counselling in Primary Care). 37 of these have been waiting between three and six months, 63 of them have been waiting in excess of six months for assessment.
A portion of these have been waiting by their own choice, having been offered telehealth counselling (over the phone or zoom), but have opted to wait for in person counselling. However, many of those waiting are not waiting by choice.
Commenting on the figures released to him by the HSE, Aontú leader Tóibín TD said;
“There can be no doubt that Covid-19 represents a serious threat to people’s health and lives, and that some level of restrictions is necessary, but at the same time, we must accept that leaving people waiting more than six months for counselling also represents a danger.
Many people are reporting mental ill health during this lockdown, as it is very challenging. It is normal to feel this way, and it is okay to ask for help. It is not okay for anyone to be left waiting for help. I believe it is time to begin gradually reopening counselling services in Co Meath, and that additional supports must be put in place to help tackle these waiting lists and backlogs, especially given the toll successive lockdowns have had on people’s mental health”, concluded Deputy Tóibín.