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Children are waiting for over one year for mental health treatment.

Children are waiting for over one year for mental health treatment.

teenage girls
Recently RTE’s The Big Picture – Young and Troubled shined a blazing light on the issue of mental health illness and how parents and youths are being let down by the system. Mental illness is challenging enough for adults to manage but factoring in the stress of getting children the help they need is devastating to all involved. 

According to reports, there are 2,603 children and adolescents waiting for an appointment with a child and adolescent Mental Health Team who treat vulnerable children in Ireland with moderate to severe mental health problems. 1,322 children and adolescents have been waiting for more than 3 months. 

Early intervention is vital when dealing with any illness whether it is physical or mental health being compromised. The problem with waiting lists is that this leaves children and indeed, their parents at the very brink of collapse. There aren’t resources to provide support and children are left on a massive waiting list while their mental health deteriorates at a rapid rate. 

It is hard for parents to comprehend why their children are struggling with mental health and alter that long-believed opinion that children are carefree and happy. However, this isn’t the case anymore and being a child is hard now probably more than ever before. School life is stressful, homework and studies play a factor in overwhelming kids. Bullying is a massive problem in schools and with the use of phones and technology, this is playing a part too in the upsurge of mental health occurrences in young people. While traditional bullying was harmful enough to a victim, now we have cyberbullying and the reality that no child can escape ridicule by their bullies anymore – thanks to technology. Though technology, for all its disadvantages, it can offer help to young people by websites that provide supports and opportunities to talk to people as below:
  • https://ie.reachout.com/
  • http://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/teens/
  • https://spunout.ie/

Year after year in this country lots of children and young people experiencing mental health difficulties are falling through the cracks and not getting the help or support they greatly need. Mental health difficulties are nothing to be ashamed of yet, many people are still too scared to discuss it with others. Fear of judgement is a terrible thing, and this has a detrimental effect on parents and sufferers too. Mental health problems are the biggest issue youths face today and this must be dealt with before more lives are ruined from this or worse. 

No child should be dying by suicide and while we’d rather not think about the fact that a 10-year-old would prefer to die than live, it must be discussed. We must raise these issues with TD’s and we should actively fight for the mental health services in this country to improve for the kids. They may not have a voice as loud, but we do! We can make a difference by not accepting this as becoming the norm, we want these figures to improve greatly and should our kids need help – they damn well should get it straight away. 
 
Written by Emma Hayes staff writer at Family Friendly HQ.