There has been a significant increase in the number of children and young people referred to mental health services in Donegal.
Figures obtained by the Donegal News show there has been a 47 per cent increase in referrals to Donegal Child and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the past year. A total of 734 young people were referred to the service in 2021, compared to 500 in 2020.
The HSE has stepped up its efforts to reduce waiting times, with a particular focus on children with ADHD.
Until the end of last month there were 129 children or teenagers on the waiting list to be seen in Donegal. The majority of them (79) were in North Donegal, followed by 46 in South Donegal and seven in Inishowen. A total of 89 referrals were waiting up to three months to be seen and 31 had been waiting three to six months.
According to the HSE, the service has seen a significant improvement in the overall wait time for young people accessing the service since 2020.
As of January 2020, almost 200 young people were waiting to be assessed and more than 80 of them were waiting more than six months and 38 were waiting more than a year. This compares to just nine young people who waited more than six months in December 2021 and there was no one who waited more than a year.
“This improvement in service has been driven by the Donegal Region management team building capacity within the teams and in this regard, the Donegal Mental Health Service, CAMHS, has successfully recruited a third consultant and now has three teams operating across the county,” an HSE spokesperson said.
“In addition, a 4th consultant psychiatrist (CAMHS) has been recruited for a specific period over the summer months (June to August 2021) who has been asked to focus on the ADHD waitlist.
“As of December 2020, 24 service users were waiting more than 12 months for an appointment and as of December 2021, no service users were waiting more than 12 months for an appointment in CAMHS. However, this continues to be monitored.
“Separately, a total of 78 ADHD service users were assessed over the summer, of which 42 were discharged without further follow-up from CAMHS being required. The remaining 36 were returned to CAMHS teams for further processing.
“The Donegal Region Mental Health Management Team continues to monitor improvements at CAMHS and is committed to building this service capacity in 2022 with a number of community initiatives to enable and support young people and their families to live well at home.
Posted: 6:00 p.m., February 1, 2022