Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has said there has been a complete failure in children’s mental health care under this government.
Waiting lists for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) have nearly doubled since Minister Mary Butler took office, with a record number of 4434 young people currently waiting on an appointment.
There are currently 682 children waiting over a year for an appointment with CAMHS, which is another record high.
Teachta Ward said:
“There has been another 3% increase in children waiting on a first-time appointment between February and March this year.
“Waiting lists are spiralling and we are now at record levels of children waiting for a first-time appointment with CAMHS.
“We have seen a dramatic rise in waiting lists for CAMHS since this government was formed in June 2020.
“July figures in 2020 showed 2,112 children were waiting on an appointment with CAMHS.
“A response I received from the HSE showed the latest figures in March 2023 had a record high of 4,434 young people waiting on services.
“That is an astonishing 110% increase in the number of children waiting on an appointment for mental health treatment since Minister Mary Butler took office.
“What is really concerning is the rise in the number of children waiting over a year for a CAMHS appointment.
“This has gone from 216 children in June 2020 to 682 children in March 2022, waiting over a year for vital mental health treatment. An increase of 216%. Another record high.
“It is vital that children get the care they need when they need it, and where they need it. Early intervention is key, so children have the best chance to reach their developmental milestones.
“Children are being denied the opportunity to reach their full potential under this government.
“The number of young people waiting for appointments is going only in one direction, which even the Minister admitted to me today after I questioned her in the Dáil.
“Whatever actions are being taken by the government to address these lists are not making an impact.
“These trends cannot be allowed to continue. CAMHS must be fully resourced to reduce wait time and to deliver the quality service that it is capable of.”