Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
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'Lower level intervention' services for children due

Recruitment 'proving challenging'

In the next year, the Minister with responsibility for Mental Health, Jim Daly, hopes to roll out a system whereby a scheme such as CAMHS would operate but with lower level intervention services for children across the country, thereby trying to fill in the gaps with assistant psychologists.

“A consultant psychiatrist heads each CAMHS team but the reality is that we cannot have a consultant psychiatrist filling every gap that exists,” said Minister Daly. “There are similar difficulties at psychologist level. We are currently trying to recruit assistant psychologists. Assistant psychologist is a lower grade. ‘Grade’ might be the wrong word but I refer to a lower level of intervention. We are trying to recruit 114 assistant psychologists, which is proving challenging.”

The Minister also said he would like to see ‘tele-psych services’ in operation. "IT has enormous potential in the area of mental health. It does not with physical health. There would not be a need for a consultant psychiatrist to travel 100 km from one post to another if the patient could avail of tele-psych services in a primary care centre through digital technology. The technology is so advanced nowadays that the experience would be the exact same as sitting in a room with the psychiatrist," he said. 

The Minister of State said he has been reviewing issues related to provision of services to young people. He has held meetings to deal with the child and adolescent mental health services, CAMHS, waiting list. “There is a shortage of psychologists. This is difficult for me and the Department, and much more difficult for those waiting to gain access to services, Minister Daly said. “To address this, we must examine how we do what we do and start doing it in a different way.



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Timeframe for statutory registration


Draft regulations to designate the professions of Counsellors and Psychotherapists and to establish a registration board will be ready for submission to the Houses of the Oireachtas for their approval during the present session, the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has told the Dail.


The Minister recently concluded a public consultation on  his proposal to regulate counsellors generally under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005.


On foot of the consultation process, He has decided to proceed with the designation of two distinct professions under the Act, that of counsellor and psychotherapist. Each will have its own register under one registration board. This decision has been communicated to the Health and Social Care Professionals Council, the relevant professional bodies and all the respondents to the public consultation process.


Subject to the approval of the Houses, the next step will be the appointment of the 13 members of the registration board, following the submission of suitable candidates for the Minister's consideration, by the Public Appointments Service. The aim is that the registration board will be in a position early in the New Year to begin the task of drafting the various bye-laws to allow it to establish its registers.



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