Updated Press Release:
Children’s Rights Alliance calls for independent advocacy service for children accessing mental health services
For Immediate Release
27 January 2022
The Children’s Rights Alliance is calling on the Government to move ahead with establishing a national independent advocacy service for children and young people accessing mental health services as a matter of urgency.
Commenting on the HSE Review of South Kerry Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) published yesterday, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said today: “This is the one of the most damning report published on mental health services for children. It demonstrates failures at all levels: clinical failure, management failure, oversight failure and administrative failure. It’s deeply disturbing that young children were subjected to psychotropic medication – for normal emotional responses – leading to devastating consequences. Children will have lost years of their life because of this treatment.
How can children, young people and families have any confidence in accessing CAMHS after the publication of this report? It is welcome that the Government is moving ahead with a National Audit of these services. However, at the same time, the Government must expedite establishing a well-resourced independent national advocacy service for children and young people accessing mental health services.
If such a service had been in place, these families would have been supported to question medical treatments and judgments, make complaints and raise issues. In 2017, the Youth Mental Health Taskforce recommended that such a service be established but this has not happened on a nationwide basis. We need to see checks and balances at all levels. Not just at the clinical level.
Many young people spoke out about the medication that they were receiving. We need to make sure that they and their families have a voice when it comes to governance of these services. They should have a seat at the table.”
The HSE Review also calls for the establishment of a Working Group to look at current and future needs of CAMHS and calls for consultation with service users, family members and other stakeholders. It also calls for a working group to progress a plan for a service re-design to provide an integrated mental health service for 0 to 25-year-olds.
Commenting on these recommendations, Tanya Ward added:
“This Report couldn’t come at a worse time for young people. Eurofound published a report in November 2021 on the impact of Covid-19 on young people’s mental health which found that young people in Ireland (alongside their peers in the Mediterranean) had the poorest life satisfaction and mental health in Europe. This was linked to pandemic measures. The fact remains that the services are just not there to meet the needs of young people and now we know that some of the services that are available are downright harmful.”
Notes to Editors:
• Tanya Ward, Chief Executive, is available for comment on 087 653 1069.
• The Eurofound Report is available here: Impact of COVID-19 on young people in the EU | Eurofound (europa.eu)
• The Youth Mental Health Taskforce Report is available here: https://assets.gov.ie/16035/e2b9a4c9d9c44719bc4edcccb0fe9e5e.pdf
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About the Children’s Rights Alliance:
Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites over 130 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Further information is available at: www.childrensrights.ie or on Twitter, @ChildRightsIRL