Not Enough Investment Behind Mental Health Task Force Report, says Children’s Rights Alliance
The Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes the publication of the National Youth Mental Health Task Force Report 2017. This Report contains a number of recommendations from the Task Force, which was established to provide national leadership in the field of youth mental health and enhance how the public, private, voluntary and community sectors work together to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, says: “Poor mental health is a reality for many children in Ireland. We have the fourth highest rate of teen suicide in the EU. Here, there are almost 7,000 children waiting for a primary care psychology appointment (July 2017), and one in three of these was forced to wait more than a year for vital support. The numbers of children seeking to access CAMHS increases year on year and there are reports of young people attempting suicide after unacceptable waits in busy emergency departments before being assessed.”
The recommendations of today’s report must now be actioned to turn this tide. In particular, the Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes the following:
1. The establishment of an independent National Youth Mental Health Advocacy and Information service to support, provide information and guide a young person and their families in accessing mental health services. We know from speaking to our members and from the calls we get from parents and young people themselves how hard it is to navigate the system and access mental health services. A National Advocacy Service will support children and families by having someone to help and advocate on their case and to link with mental health professionals and other supports. A clear timeline for the establishment of this crucial service needs to be provided as a matter of priority.
2. Schools have an important role to play in supporting and fostering wellbeing and mental health so we welcome the spotlight put on schools to ensure a whole-school-approach. Mental health does not sit in a silo in a child’s life. Mental health and wellbeing should be integrated into their everyday within schools.
3. The recommendations to use digital technologies in the delivery of mental health supports to children and young people and the recognition of the important role these can play in the delivery of mental health supports to children and young people.
4. Other important recommendations on the alignment of services nationally and to enhance primary care support across the country.
Tanya Ward concluded: “These are good recommendations but they won’t become a reality without resources behind them. We are also disappointed that the timeframe for update of the Mental Health Act is the end of 2018. It is more than two and a half years since the publication of the Expert Group Review of the Act. Children cannot wait any longer for the essential mental health supports that they need.”
For further information, please contact:
087 655 9067 / 01 662 9400
Notes to Editor
• Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance is available for interview.