Tuesday 23 January 2018

One in four children forced to wait over a year for mental health assessment

picture posed by model
picture posed by model
Daire Courtney

Daire Courtney

More than a quarter of children on the waiting list mental health services have been waiting for over a year, according to new figures.

The for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) provides assessment and treatment to children referred by their GP for mental health problems including depression, anxiety, eating disorders and psychosis.

There are currently 221 children on the waiting list for CAMHS services and 57 of those have been on the list for more than a year.

The figures were obtained by Fianna Fáil TD Eamon Scanlon in response to a parliamentary question.

In a statement, Deputy Scanlon said: “It is an absolute disgrace that we have children waiting more than a year for essential mental health assessments. This is completely unacceptable and points to huge gaps within our mental health service.”

The Sligo-Leitrim TD also raised concerns regarding staffing levels, stating that there is only one child psychiatrist consultant working in his constituency.

“We need to significantly increase staff numbers for child and adolescent community mental health schemes.  At the end of 2015 staffing levels for these teams were just 51% of the recommended levels contained in “A Vision for Change”. 

"This can only be achieved through increased mental health funding – a minimum annual investment of €35m.”

The HSE have been contacted for comment.

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