Pressure on CAMHS services will increase in the next few years, the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection says.
Conor O'Mahony was speaking after a review from a CAMHS service in south Kerry found 'significant harm' was caused to 46 children between July 2016 and April 2021.
It found that the care received by a total of 240 young people was sub-standard - with examples of "unreliable diagnoses, inappropriate prescriptions and poor monitoring of treatment and potential adverse effects".
Mr O'Mahony says the service was already in trouble before these latest revelations.
"Even before this week's new stories about CAMHS, it's been fairly well-known for some time that the service is really drastically under-resourced.
"There's very lengthy waiting lists for people who need to access a CAMHS service.
"And they're also associated with that very restrictive eligibility criteria.
"So you get some people being turned away because they don't meet the definition of a mental illness, and then receive no service."
He says the pandemic means there are more people who need help.
"Equally we're likely to see pressure on CAMHS increasing in the years to come, because the impact of the COVID pandemic was so significant on the mental health of children and young people.
"We're going to get a service that's already overstretched being under even more pressure."
And he says he welcomes an audit of services as "the CAMHS issues are not just about one case in Kerry - this is a much wider issue".