New figures released to Fianna Fáil Mental Health Spokesperson James Browne TD show the number of persons waiting for a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) appointment stood at 2,908 at the end of May 2017.

Deputy Browne said, “This is a very significant increase over the past six months. In November last year 2,298 were waiting for an appointment. We have since had an increase of 610 which translates as almost 21%.

“Even more worrying is the fact that the numbers waiting over a year have jumped to 324, up from 182 last November – a leap of 78%.

“The service in Cork and Kerry seems to be acutely affected. Those areas account for 158 of the 324 youngsters waiting over a year for an appointment.

“These waiting lists are hardly surprising given that earlier this year we received information from the HSE which showed that 47% of all positions committed to under the national Vision for Change strategy remain unfilled.

“Some 583 posts need to be filled before Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have the numbers required. Addressing this must be a key priority for the new Minister of State for Mental Health, Jim Daly.

“The truth is that mental health services for children seem to be going backwards at the moment. As the Mental Health Commission have pointed out, in the first five months of 2017 there were 44 child admissions to adult units compared to 36 for the same period in 2016. At the end of May 2017 there were also 16 fewer operational beds for the CAMHS service, down to 77 from 93 at the same time in 2016.

“Unless the Minister and the HSE get on top of the issue, the welfare of children and young adults dealing with mental health challenges will continue to be put at risk.”