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Nearly 300 children had to wait a year for mental health appointment, according to new figures

Almost 300 children with mental health problems are being forced to wait more than a year for their first appointment, according to HSE figures.

There are reports that 2,000 young people are currently on waiting lists.

But 286 of them are waiting over 12 months to be seen by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

The figures also show staffing levels there are only 57% of what they should be.

Reacting to the story in the Irish Daily Mail, Director of Mental Health Reform, Dr Shari McDaid says the waiting period can be very distressing for families.

"Certainly it is concerning because you only get referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services when the GP feels the child needs more help than (they) can provide themselves," she said.

"There is a need for more urgency and faster implementation to improving the services so that the children are seen more quickly."

File photo