Thursday 30 July 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ALLIANCE CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO DELIVER URGENT MENTAL HEALTH FACILITIES FOR CHILDREN
The Children’s Rights Alliance today calls for the Government to stop the historic inaction and chronic under-funding of mental health services for children, following reports that nearly 200 children were admitted to adult psychiatric units in 2007. The Alliance has raised this matter time and again: in its Second Shadow Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2006 and most recently in its meetings with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews TD, and in its role as a designated Social Partner.
Despite this work, and other repeated calls from the NGO sector, the Government has failed to deliver on several commitments – including the Towards 2016 pledge to deliver one child and adolescent community mental health team (CMHT) per 100,000 of the population by 2008. Again, the Government’s Vision for Change Strategy outlines what is required as a starting point to improve child and adolescent mental health services, but little or no progress has been made.
Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive, says: ‘The lack of child and adolescent mental health services is a serious concern for the Alliance – they are virtually non-existent and we, as a country, should be deeply ashamed. For example, not one of the promised community mental health teams (CMHT) is in place, let alone one per 100,000 of the population. The Government seems to have only succeeded in replicating historic inaction and chronic under-funding of mental health services for children. The Alliance calls for this to be rectified, and for the Government to prioritise a solution to this problem and introduce an interim target for CMHTs in 2009 as a matter of urgency.’
Ms van Turnhout continues: ‘We cannot ignore this situation any longer, when 3,000 children are on waiting lists for assessment and nearly 200 children are treated in adult psychiatric hospitals every year. It is wholly unacceptable that children as young as 14 years old continue to be treated through adult services.’
For further information, please contact:
Carys Thomas, Communications Director
Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087 7702845; Fax: (01) 662 9355
Notes to Editor:
Towards 2016 includes a commitment to deliver a significant number of child and adolescent community mental health teams (CMHTs) within the context of a 7-10 year target of 1 CMHT per 100,000 of the population by 2008, subject to sufficient resources being made available, and two CMHTs per 100,000 of the population by 2013.