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More than 2,500 children waiting for HSE mental health services

A report published today shows 42 per cent have been waiting more than six months to be seen.

Image: child image via Shutterstock

Updated 10:50pm

THE LATEST REPORT on mental health services for children has shown that more than 2,500 were waiting to be seen by a professional at the end of September 2013.

The report from the HSE found 42 per cent of children and adolescents have been waiting more than six months for services, with 413 on the list for over a year. 1,053 of them were waiting less than three months.

Children seeking mental health services in Dublin are most likely to be seen within a three month period of referral while the HSE South list has the highest number waiting more than 12 months.

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Overall, there was an increase of 11 per cent in the demand for services in the last year. In the twelve months from October 2012 to September 2013, 9,616 new cases were seen by community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) teams. Some 17,116 children are availing of these services in Ireland.

Of the 9,616 new cases seen, 1,551, or 16 per cent, were 16 years of age and over. The report said one in ten children and adolescents suffer from mental health disorders that are associated with “considerable distress ad substantial interferences with personal functions” such as family and social relationships their capacity to cope with day-to-day stresses and life challenges and their learning.

The ADHD / hyperkinetic category again was the most frequently assigned primary presentation followed by the anxiety category which accounted for 18.3 per cent. Depressive disorders increased with age, accounting for 21.1 per cent of the 15 years and older age group.

Deliberate self harm accounted for 9.5 per cent of the primary presentations of the 15 years and older age group. This, and suicidal ideation, was recorded as a reason for referral in 25 per cent of the new cases seen.

The report also found that there were 438 admissions of children and adolescents up to the age of 18 years to inpatient units.

Commenting on the publication of the report, Minister Kathleen Lynch said: “The increasing service demands reflected in this Report, together with the evidence based good outcomes of early CAMHS intervention, reinforces my commitment to ensure that the best use is made of additional investment by this Government for our mental health services, particularly those relating to children and adolescents and planned expansion for community-based CAMHS services.”

First published 4.20pm

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