Meath among counties with second highest waiting list for children's mental health services

Meath is one of the counties to have the second highest waiting list in the country for children trying to access mental health services.

Aontú Councillor Emer Tóibín, secured statistics from the HSE which show that Laois, Offaly, Longford. Westmeath, Louth and Meath (Community Health Organisation 8) have the second longest waiting list to access the service.

According to a response from the General Manager of the National Mental Health Services to a query from the political party Aontú, there are nearly 700 children on the CAMHS waiting list, the second highest waiting list in the country.

Speaking today, Cllr Tóibín said: “Shockingly, 67 of these children have been waiting for more than a year. 55 of them have been waiting for between ten months and a year.

"113 of them have been waiting for between six and ten months. 137 have been waiting for between three and six months while the remaining 315 have been waiting for up to three months. The failure to proactively resource and staff these critical services means current and future suffering will further disadvantage these children in their formative and important years”.

Cllr Tóibín continued: “I’ve spoken to psychiatrists in an attempt to determine what the potential effects of a child’s treatment or assessment being delayed for a year, could be. A child with depression experiences difficulties with sleep, appetite, energy and concentration. Due to lack of concentration, they may struggle with school work and fall behind academically.

They might be withdrawn, and as a result become disconnected from their peer group. Untreated, they may deteriorate to a point where they might require hospitalisation or even become suicidal."

“The College of Psychiatrists has said that CAHMS is limping along with 72 teams where 130 are required and that they have only half of the staff required. The shocking report into malpractice and the substandard treatment of children in south Kerry's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, CAMHS, found that more than 200 children were put at significant risk of harm. What other shortcomings have been or will be brought to light by the promised audit of all CAMHS Units around the country?''

" No child should be left over a year waiting for treatment, and yet we know that there are 67 of them in Meath and the surrounding counties who have been waiting for more than a year. These delays do have consequences and we cannot simply look the other way”, concluded Cllr Tóibín