Over 250 children have been waiting at least a year for a mental health appointment in Ireland.
According to Freedom of Information figures released to Newstalk, 35 children have been on the list for over 18 months.
The figures show that 2,559 children are waiting for an appointment with the HSE's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
Some 251 have been waiting for more than 12 months, with 120 waiting over 15 months, and 35 on the list for over 18 months.
Consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at the College of Psychiatrists' Dr Maeve Doyle said the service is chronically underfunded.
“We now have about 25% of our population under the age of 18,” she said.
“The teams we have around the country are probably around 80 teams - which is woefully inadequate - and those have about half, maybe less, of the staff needed to provide a good quality child and adolescent mental health service for our young population.”
The figures show that nearly 600 children have been waiting at least six months for an appointment, while 120 have been waiting longer than 15 months.
Dr Doyle said many children are forced to go elsewhere to get urgent care.
“A huge number of children are not attending the GPs, not attending CAMHS because of the long waiting lists and becoming much more serious in their presentation,” she said.
“They are coming directly to the Emergency Department with problems such as eating disorders, suicidal attempts, major depression and, in the case of children with autism, really, meltdowns where they have become extremely aggressive with parents.”
Cork and Kerry are the worst affected areas, with nearly 500 children waiting for an appointment.
Across the two counties, 57 children have been waiting over a year.
The HSE said there are significant efforts ongoing to reduce waiting times for CAMHS, which it says are partly down to recruitment issues.