Canberra teens in desperate need of mental health care are waiting months and even years just to see a psychologist or counsellor.
An ACT Legislative Assembly inquiry in to youth mental health on Tuesday heard young people were frustrated by long wait lists to access treatment in the ACT.
Giving evidence to the hearing, Canberra teenager PJ Anderson said it took her four years to find an appropriate psychologist to see in Canberra.
She had also been forced to travel two-and-a-half hours to Bowral to see a psychiatrist.
Ms Anderson said it wasn't until the start of this year that she was accepted as a client at Headspace in Belconnen.
"It's hard that it's taken four years to be able to find someone," she said.
"I was constantly getting referrals from my GP to different psychologists."
Ms Anderson said she could only see a female psychologist due to trauma she experienced as a child.
"I was so tired of looking and being shut down every time," she said.
"I'd get so upset every time I was shut down.
"I understand there are thousands of other Canberra youths that need help.
"But I just needed someone who wasn't relevant in my life to get stuff off my chest."
Head of student support at Galilee School Joel Artup said young people he worked with were often confronted with barriers to access mental health care when it was needed.
"If a young person has spoken to us and said they'd like to access some supports around their mental health, we feel addressing that in a timely manner is critical," Mr Artup said.
"I've seen wait times of upwards of six months for an initial meeting with a counsellor.
"In my opinion that is not timely enough to support that young person where they are in that moment."