One mother, who has two children in the CAMHS system, has said it is pushing them to other services to manage its long waiting lists.
Elbha O'Sullivan from Cork was speaking as figures released to Newstalk show over 500 children have been waiting over a year to access vital mental healthcare.
In total, there are nearly 4,200 patients on the waiting list for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
Ms O'Sullivan told Newstalk Breakfast: "I definitely get the feeling that there are budgetary constraints.
"I can see that while some decisions are made based on clinical observation, they're certainly making decisions based on budgetary constraints.
"So, for example, CAMHS in Cork have told me about my eldest son that because he's autistic he should be supported by his autism service.
"However his autism service are saying 'We've 650 kids on his CDNT and we have .8 of a psychologist'.
"Even their model isn't predicated for one-to-one support, which is what he needs.
"CAMHS are continually pushing children to other services to manage their own long waiting lists".
'I couldn't wait at all'
She explains that they noticed her eldest son, Odhran, had issues with emotional outbursts.
"We sought private therapies to support him - like play therapy and psychology - but at age seven my GP felt it was an escalating issue... and he needed to be referred to mental health services".
Elbha says he was seen via a Zoom call around eight months after his referral.
"They mentioned to us on the call that they thought maybe he was autistic.
"Understanding how difficult and long the wait lists there were, I did put him on the public list but I also took him privately for assessment.
"He was diagnosed or identified as autistic".
She says she provided this information to CAMHS, who told her "they don't deal with children who are autistic".
Elbha's other son - Cillín - was referred to CAMHS last February, and his first appointment was yesterday.
"Eighteen months in the life of a six-year-old is a very significant portion".
She says even going private meant delays to being seen.
"I just felt like I couldn't wait at all and... I sought somebody in Cork.
"There was absolutely nobody in the Munster region who would take him on.
"So I ended up bringing him to Dublin for assessment in February of this year - having waited about four months for that privately.
"So even if you are lucky enough to pay for things privately, there are huge waiting lists there".
And Elbha says the system itself is very difficult to navigate.
"The system is byzantine - it's difficult to navigate your way through it.
"Usually you see your child has difficulties, but you don't know what the label for that is.
"So you put them through the AON process, which is opaque.
"You may eventually get on to CAMHS, but then they tell you 'We think he's autistic' so you can't be seen there".