Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has described the continued increase in waiting lists for CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) first-time appointments as extremely worrying.
For the first time, the number of young people waiting for a first-time appointment with CAMHS has broken the 4,500 barrier.
There is now a record high of 4,513 young people waiting on a first-time CAMHS appointment, while 747 young people are waiting for over a year for an appointment with this vital service.
The Dublin Mid-West TD said:
“Nationally, there are currently a record high of 4,513 of our young people currently waiting for appointments with CAMHS.
“This is the first time that the waiting list for a first-time appointment with CAMHS has broken the 4,500 barrier.
“747 of these children have been waiting for over a year for CAMHS services.
“These are figures I received from the HSE for the end of April.
“These figures are up again from March, and this is a worrying trend.
“It is unacceptable for one young person to be waiting over a year, let alone 747 children.
“CAMHS are for young people with moderate to severe mental health problems and Minister Butler has pointed out the increase in the number of referrals to CAMHS as a contributing factor in the increased waiting times.
“At the Oireachtas Mental Health committee meeting last week we heard from experts that the vast majority of young people waiting lengthy periods for a first-time appointment have a diagnosis of ADHD.
“I have written to the Minister and asked that there is an immediate response from the government and waiting lists simply cannot continue to rise.
“Minister Butler was appointed in July 2020 when the number of children waiting on a first-time appointment with CAMHS was 2112. There has been a staggering 112% increase under her watch.
“There has also been an increase of 248% increase in young people waiting over a year on their first-time appointment under this government’s watch
“We can all get bogged down in statistics but behind each statistic is a young person, with hope, dreams and ambitions who is being denied by this government the opportunity to reach their full potential.
“Government has failed our young people in the provision of vital mental health services.”