Government inaction could damage public trust in mental health services

Mental Health Reform calls for an additional €25M for voluntary and community providers in Budget 2024 to address crisis in youth mental health

Mental Health Reform has criticised the Government for its complacent response to the crisis in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

The Mental Health Commission’s recent reports for each of the nine Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs), provide stark evidence of the negligence and dysfunction within CAMHS, according to Fiona Coyle, CEO, Mental Health Reform. The national coalition for mental health says the lack of action from the Taoiseach and coalition partners could damage public trust in mental health services.

Commenting on the publication of the reports, Fiona Coyle said: “The Government has been presiding over an ineffective mental system that has exposed children to the risk of harm.

The Mental Health Commission’s reports have exposed deficiencies in the services including a failure to monitor children using medication, a lack of follow-up care, poor clinical governance and severe staffing shortages.

It is crucial that parents feel confident to approach mental health services as soon as their child starts to experience difficulties. Early intervention is key to preventing the development of complex mental health difficulties and reducing the need for specialist care. Given the grave issues in CAMHS, there is a significant risk that parents may avoid seeking support due to a lack of trust in the mental health system.

The Taoiseach and coalition partners must take a strategic approach to reform youth mental health services. The voluntary and community mental health sector provides vital prevention and early intervention services to children and young people. Mental Health Reform is calling for an additional €25M in the upcoming budget for voluntary and community providers to meet the growing demand for support.

Young people can face significant barriers in accessing mental health services due to the complex pathways to care. The Youth Mental Health Pathfinder Project is a cross-departmental initiative that would improve the process of navigating treatment and support programmes for parents and young people. This initiative must be funded and implemented in Budget 2024.

The Mental Health Commission’s Independent Review of CAMHS outlines 49 recommendations including the immediate and independent regulation of CAMHS and the creation of a National Lead for Mental Health in the HSE. The Taoiseach and senior government leaders must publicly commit to implementing these measures to ensure strategic oversight and safety in our mental health system.

Mental Health Reform welcomes the recognition of the essential work carried out by frontline service providers in the report. We acknowledge that many families are concerned about the issues in CAMHS. However, it is extremely important that children and young people continue to seek support if they are experiencing mental health difficulties.

Media Contact
Niamh Fahy – / 083 056 6363

For additional support, please call the HSE YourMentalHealth Information Line on freephone 1800 111 888, any time day or night.


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