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25% rise in children waiting over a year for mental health treatment - Mark Ward TD

27 October, 2021 - by Mark Ward TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD, has called for immediate resources to be allocated to the Children and Adolescent Mental Health services after he received a response from a parliamentary question, which shows increases in the amount of children waiting on treatment.

Teachta Ward said:

“It is worrying to see waiting list figures in Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) increasing.

“It is unacceptable that children are waiting over a year for an appointment with CAMHS. There has been a 25% increase in the number of children waiting over a year for treatment between 2019 and 2020.

“We all know that early intervention is key for a child to reach its development milestones. The state is failing vulnerable children by denying them the opportunity to reach their full potential.

“Based on the latest full yearly figures I have in 2020, CAMHS have 2,755 children on their waiting lists for treatment, which is an increase of 18% on the same period in 2019.

“The increase in children waiting for treatment is even more worrying when you consider there was a 6.1% decrease in new referrals to CAMHS in 2019 compared to 2020.

“The disappointing budget has highlighted how the government has failed to prioritise mental health treatment across the board with only an additional €24 million allocated for new services. 

“This is despite the Mental Health Reform calling for an additional €85 million and Sinn Féin’s alternative budget committing €114 million for new mental health services.

“We were faced with a tidal wave of people presenting for mental health treatment pre-Covid but now we are in the midst of a tsunami  and the government is idly standing on the beach watching for it to hit our shore.

“These waiting times are simply unacceptable and they put people at very serious risk.

“The reason there is such a backlog for access to these services is that CAMHS is not been adequately funded and the area is suffering from the government’s inability to address the recruitment and retention crisis.

"In 2022 there needs to be increased and targeted investment from this government to help ease soaring waiting lists for access to CAMHS services - and to save lives.”

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