THERE are currently more than 130 children in Donegal on the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) waiting list.
There were 76 children on the waiting list in North Donegal as of January 2023 while there were 45 waiting in South Donegal. In Inishowen, there were 16 children on the waiting list. CAMHS is a specialist service treating children and adolescents experiencing moderate to severe mental health difficulties.
Of the 137 children on the waiting list, 85 were waiting up to three months, while 31 were waiting between three and six months.
Sixteen children were waiting between six and nine months, while five children have been on the waiting list for between nine months to a year.
The figures were supplied by the HSE in response to a question from Letterkenny Councillor Gerry McMonagle who asked for an update on the waiting times for children to access CAMHS Services including Jigsaw in Donegal and the extent of the Out Of Hours Services for CAMHS in Donegal.
The HSE response stated, “There are three consultant led multidisciplinary CAMHS teams delivering specialist services to the under eighteen year old population of Donegal.
“The multidisciplinary teams consist of Allied Health Professionals such as Psychology, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers, Speech & Language Therapists and Clinical Nurse Specialists.
“CAMHS consultants provide an out of hours on call service, which covers Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan – There is a one in five rota with the three CAMHS consultants in Donegal and the two CAMHS Consultants in Sligo.
“The Mental Health Services NCHD on call sees the patient first and if needed contacts the CAMHS consultant on call.”
The response also detailed that any new referrals that need access to Jigsaw are discussed at the Regional Liaison Meeting.
This group comprises of services including HSE, Tusla and Jigsaw. This group then decides if any referrals would benefit from Jigsaw Services and Jigsaw would be best placed to answer the query in terms of their waitlists.
Cllr Gerry McMonagle said he would follow up with the HSE about the figures.
Following this, the HSE said last year there was a CAMHS waiting list initiative which was very significant and they had just received approval to extend the initiative by a further 12 months.
A spokesperson said, “We are waiting on additional approval for another tranche of funding, circa €800,000, to really make the CAMHS waiting list go away completely.”
Cllr McMonagle said this was very welcome news if it will address the growing waiting lists and added he understand the difficulties the service has had recently.
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