The mother of a boy who had threatened to take his own life was told it would be a year before he could get professional help.
The case was heard during a Dáil debate on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) last week, the Irish Independent reports.
The boy’s mother was told it could be up to a year before he could be seen by the CAHMS team.
“That’s not good enough,” said Sinn Féin TD Denise Mitchell.
The Dáil heard several cases where at-risk children had encountered long wait times for CAMHS services.
Minister Jim Daly said he met with health chiefs and “said to them that I would not run a waiting list initiative and would much prefer to deal with the structural challenges that exist within mental health.”
He added that a number of initiatives were being looked at including telepsychiatry and mental health phone line training for national ambulance staff.
Daly said infrastructure was being built “underneath” CAMHS so that better alternatives would become available.
According to the Irish Examiner, a spokesperson for the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) said the lengthy wait times for families needing to access services were partially due to issues in recruitment.
The PSI has claimed that the number of psychologists currently working in CAMHS is 72.5. The recommended number in the government’s own 'Vision for Change' mental health strategy is 190.