One Fermanagh mother has spoken of her frustration as her child continues to wait for the psychological therapy they need 10 months after being refereed to Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS) by their GP.

It comes at a time when waiting lists for Psychological Therapies are soaring in the Western Health and Social Care Trust. Over the past three years patients waiting longer than 13 weeks for Psychological Therapies has jumped from 229 to 727 in the Western Trust with the longest wait over two and a half years.

The Impartial Reporter can also reveal that this service is facing funding pressures. In a financial report presented at the October Trust Board meeting it stated that there was “financial risks” associated with Psychological Therapies and the Trust has revealed to this newspaper that “previously the Trust was given additional funding to address waiting lists and this year this funding is in doubt.”

In the areas of Children’s Learning Disability and Child Psychology there are more children waiting longer than 13 weeks for in the Western Trust than in any other Trust.

A recent report from the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) reveals the number of children waiting for Psychological Therapies in the areas of Children’s Learning Disability and Child Psychology.

The figures, replicated above in graph form, identifies 197 children waiting in these areas in the Western Trust . The Belfast Trust has 73 waiting. The other trust areas 20 or less.

One Fermanagh child has been waiting ten months to start the therapy that they need, and the child’s mother explained to the Impartial Reporter the effect it is having on the family.

“It’s very frustrating. We’re told in adverts and leaflets, even celebrities are telling people they should ask for help for mental health problems.

“But when you do, there’s little or no help. All I want is some therapy that can help my child who is diagnosed with a mental health condition, that is affecting their lives every day. We’ve begun GCSE studies too, so it is a critical time,” she said, before adding:

“All the advice tells me that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is the thing to do and I have asked but there seems to be such a very long waiting list. It’s now been 10 months since the GP referred us to CAMHS and we’re still waiting to get this therapy started. It’s not the fault of staff who are doing their best but there just aren’t enough trained therapists here to help.”

In terms of blame the Fermanagh mother lays it firmly at the door of those who make decisions on budgets and investment in services and says at a time when suicide rates are also rising it is more important that ever to tackle mental health:

“The people who manage the budgets and make decisions about services must put more resources into treating mental health problems. Waiting lists, along with suicide rates are increasing. Adverts and leaflets aren’t enough. Children and families need actual help.”

In its latest Performance Report the HSCB state that four of the trust areas, including the Western Trust, have said that waiting lists for Psychological Therapies will rise by March 2020.