Families for Reform of CAMHS is a family representative, advocacy and support group for families who are trying to access the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), currently with CAMHS or who are no longer with CAMHS.

The group was set up in May 2023 and is now made up of over 1,200 members. Our children are found in communities, groups and families across Ireland. Nobody knows if or when mental health challenges will occur, but we all hope that support will be available if we or our loved ones need it.

In 2023, reports from the Mental Health Commission and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child highlighted serious concerns about the insufficient and inadequate mental health services for children. The reports portrayed an overwhelmed and poorly governed system with inadequate staffing and resources. The Inspector of Mental Health Services, Dr Susan Finnerty, publicly stated at the time that she could not “provide an assurance to all parents or guardians in all parts of Ireland that their children have access to a safe effective, and evidence-based mental health service.”

The concerns set out in last year’s reports are not new but were also raised in the Mental Health Commission’s 2017 report and the UN Committee’s 2016 report.

Not only are families being let down but also dedicated staff within CAMHS who are trying their best to help children despite the system rather than with the support of it. The Government and the HSE have acknowledged service deficits and yet we have seen no real reform. And children continue to suffer as a result.

As a group, we have spoken in Leinster House numerous times to highlight the challenges and realities faced by families. We have contributed to radio shows, podcasts and articles to spread awareness of the battle that families have to undertake to try and access help for their child.   

We are now looking for action.

Families for Reform of CAMHS is calling on the Government and the HSE to address the broken system in place urgently and as a matter of priority.

We are calling for the Government to commit to the implementation of the Mental Health Commission's 49 recommendations (published last year) and of the recommendations recently published by the Oireachtas Committee for Children, Disability, Equality, Inclusion and Youth


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