More than 11,000 children in Ireland are now waiting for psychological treatment 3 months ago

More than 11,000 children in Ireland are now waiting for psychological treatment

Do you have a child currently on the waiting list?

According to the latest figures, there are currently more than 11,000 children waiting for psychological treatment in Ireland.

And if this is not shocking enough, almost 4,000 of these children have been waiting for more than a year to receive an appointment.

Speaking about the figures, Sinn Féin spokesperson for mental health, Deputy Mark Ward, says the current situation is both concerning and unsustainable.

"Ireland is experiencing an unprecedented demand for psychological support in Primary Care," Ward says.

"This is not sustainable and immediate action is required."

The HSE has not hired any new psychologists in the last five years

Earlier this week it was revealed that the HSE has not hired any new psychologists in the last five years, despite a multi-million euro investment by the public health service.

"The HSE has invested over €38 million over the last five years on fees and salaries for trainee clinical psychologists," Ward reveals.

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‘The psychologists are there, the resources are there, but the ability and will to hire them is not."

In fact, the HSE’s Report of the National Psychology Project Team estimated a need for 322 additional psychologists in mental health services.

Ward added: ‘This is the first time since I was elected that the waiting list for Primary Care psychology has exceeded 13,000 people.’

'Shocking and well neglected'

The  Sinn Féin spokesperson is not the only one concerned about the waiting lists for children seeking help from a mental health professional.

Speaking to the Irish Daily Mail, Josh Deegan, founder of the teenage mental health service Brighter Thoughts Ireland, said that “Someone isn’t going to stop being suicidal just because they’ve been put on a waitlist. That’s what’s so wrong with the 12-month waitlists. They’re shocking and well neglected to say the least”.

He added:

“A child is struggling and fighting for their lives and they have to wait. It’s absolutely detrimental to families.”

Keegan explains:

"People are now having to pay to save their own life. I believe you should be able to pick up the phone – just as we dial 999 – and say ‘‘I’m in a crisis – I’m not okay’’ – it’s a big thing to deal with."