Nearly four in five young people in Wales are waiting over a month for their first mental health appointment, according to new Welsh Government data.
The Welsh Government is being urged to step-up provision for young people as new figures reveal the extent of demand for the service.
In figures released earlier this week, 78 per cent of patients referred to the Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are left waiting for over four weeks for their first appointment.
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, has said this demonstrates the importance of early intervention as well as stepping up the provision for the specialist service.
Mr ap Iorwerth says: “Waiting times for mental health services for young people are now the worst on record. These are young people who have been deemed to require urgent, specialist treatment, and yet they’re being made to wait over a month to even be seen.
“The Welsh Government clearly needs to increase provision of CAMHS services, but it also must allow young people to access support earlier, before they reach the point where they require this specialist care.
“We must have robust provision in place so that patients can receive the best possible treatment at the earliest opportunity, before their situation worsens, as we have seen all too often.”
Jane Dodds, Liberal Democrat MS, said: “These figures are devastating. We know that waiting times for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are some of the longest in the health service and they’re getting worse rather than better.
“We should be treating mental ill health with the same urgency as we do physical health, but these statistics show we are nowhere near achieving that.
“The Government needs to act. They must swiftly provide a detailed timeline and resources to clear sCAMHS waiting lists, not by parking kids on medication or other inappropriate interventions, but by ensuring children and young people have access to quality talking therapy near to where they live.”