19/01/2022

Mental Health Services Waiting Times For Children 'Deeply Concerning'

The number of children waiting nine weeks or longer for appointments for mental health services has been described as "deeply concerning".

Sinn Féin MLA Órlaithí Flynn said that the numbers have doubled in a matter of months, and remains at unprecedented levels.

The Minister of Health recently confirmed that the total number of children waiting for a mental health appointment has increased. Those waiting longer than nine weeks has increased from 451 in May to 944 in November.

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Mental Health Órlaithi Flynn MLA said: "It is deeply concerning that vital mental health services for children and young people continue to be under increasing pressure. The numbers of children on waiting lists numbers are spiralling out of control.
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"Children's mental health services and staff provide invaluable support to children and young people in emotional distress and with a range of mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

"However, the demand for support and treatment is rapidly outstripping capacity.

"I welcome the fact that the Department has published a Mental Health Action Plan and a new 10-year strategy. I have serious concerns however that in the immediate and short-term staff and services have stretched as far as they can go.

"I have asked the Minister of health if he will make a statement to the Assembly addressing the immediate pressures in children's mental health services and if he has successfully increased funding to at least 10 per cent of the mental health budget."

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