TWO-HUNDRED-AND-TWELVE children in Ireland have been waiting over a year for an appointment with the mental health service, it's been revealed.
According to details released under the Freedom of Information Act, just shy of 100 of those kids have been waiting over 18-months, and more than 50 kids have been on the waiting list for more than two years.
As of December, there were 2,327 Irish children waiting for an appointment with the HSE's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
Counties Cork and Kerry are the worst-hit areas of the country - with 619 children currently waiting for an appointment - equating to over a quarter of the total number.
145 of those kids have been on the list for more than a year.
Brendan Kelly, a professor of psychiatry in Trinity College Dublin, said the waiting times were a concern.
"Children and adolescents with mental health problems need particularly urgent attention," he said.
"Waiting periods lead to a deterioration in mental health, lost opportunity for education and other activities, co waiting times are very concerning."
He added that there's a major shortage of child psychiatrists in Ireland at the moment.
"The long waiting times reflects a staffing crisis in CAMHS. The number of consultants and psychiatrists in post is around half of what needs to be in post.
"This will always lead to long waiting times."
The HSE say they're working hard to try and reduce waiting times for CAMHS, citing recruitment issues as a significant problem.
It adds that between 2012 and 2018, referrals have increased by 24%, and it's been difficult for the service to deal with such an upturn in demand.