A recent Parliamentary Question by Deputy Pearse Doherty was replied to by the HSE which outlined that 2,440 children and young people across the country are on waiting lists for speicalist mental health services.
Mental Health Reform continue to be seriously concerned about the waiting for specialist Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Given the important developmental stages that children and young people go through, this is a crucial time in their personal, emotional and psychological development which is impacted by the lack of services available to them.
In 2015, the HSE implemented a “very intensive waiting list initiative” to address the extensive waiting lists for CAMHS services. In 2014, there were 2,541 children and young people waiting for CAMHS services. Five years later, in 2019, we have seen just a 3.9% decrease in the number of children and young people waiting to access specialist mental health services, despite the implementation of the waiting list initiative.
These 2,440 children and young people waiting for CAMHS are not the only ones on waiting lists. More than 7,000 children and young people are also waiting for primary care psychology services, more than 30 children and young people have been admitted to adult mental health units, and many children and young people in mental health crisis are brought to Emergency Departments only to wait hours to be seen.
The Government must take action, particularly through adequate investment in Budget 2020, to address the crisis in CAMHS so that all children and young people can get the mental health care they need, when they need it.