More than 2500 children are on waiting lists for mental health services 4 months ago

More than 2500 children are on waiting lists for mental health services

According to new figures by the HSE, more than 11,700 children and teenagers in Ireland accessed child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) last year.

And this number is, according to officials, 20 percent above the demand that was expected for the year.

A total of 11,703 children and teenagers were re-referred or newly referred to Camhs community teams in the year leading up to November 2021, compared with an expected activity level of 9,338, according to data released by the HSE.

Camhs offers specialist clinical services to children and teenagers under 18 with moderate to severe mental health difficulties.

However, speaking on the radio earlier this week, a Kildare GP has said that the number of young people accessing mental health services is far greater than what the HSE is reporting.

According to official HSE figures, some, 3,357 children were still waiting to access Camhs by the end of November last year, the highest such number since 2015, when there were 3,100 children on this list.

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Some 1,686 of these were “expected to be seen within three months”, the HSE said, while the wait time for the remaining 1,671 is unknown.

More concerning is the fact that more than six percent of those on the waitlist, 221 children, had been waiting more than a year to be seen, according to the HSE.

The waiting list for appointments with the child and adolescent mental health services has been stuck at at least 2,500 for years.

Speaking to Kfm radio, Kildare-based GP Brendan O'Shea could reveal that he reckons the real number is vastly greater than that.

"A significant amount of money is being spent on this and I wonder If the solution is to keep throwing money into the system?" O'Shea said.

"Thousands of young people in Kildare have mental health issues. We see significant anxiety, depression, substance abuse in our practices. From general practices, we want a different service that would allow us to intervene earlier."