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Children with potential mental health issues have been waiting over a year for a psychologist

Almost a third of children on waiting-lists have been waiting for over a year.

Fianna Fail has condemned the backlog.
Fianna Fail has condemned the backlog.
Image: Shutterstock/fizkes

FIANNA FÁIL HAS said the length of time children are waiting for mental health treatment is “simply unacceptable” after new figures about wait times are released.

Figures released by the HSE have shown that 1,784 children have been waiting over a year for an appointment with a psychologist. A further 789 children have been waiting more than nine months but less than a year.

In total, 5,954 children are on waiting lists for a psychology appointment with regional breakdowns showing that all areas are affected by wait times.

It means that about 30% of the children waiting for an appointment have been waiting for over a year.

In terms of age, of the children waiting to see someone for a mental health issue, 342 are aged between 0-4 years while 5,605 are between 5-17 years old.

The figures were released to Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher TD following a parliamentary question and show the extent to which the problem affects children.

By comparison, there are 1,416 people aged between 18-64 waiting for a psychological appointment in primary care and 115 people aged over 65.

Commenting on the figures, Fianna Fáil mental health spokesperson James Browne said the numbers were “clear evidence of a crisis” in the provision of services for children.

“The fact is that almost one in three children waiting for an appointment has been on a list for over a year. It’s simply unacceptable that so many should wait so long. Vulnerable children and teenagers need this service and we have an obligation to provide it,” Browne said of the situation.

The deputy added that he has figures which show that the number of children and adolescents on waiting lists to see a psychologist have doubled since November.

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Rónán Duffy

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