Families for Reform of CAMHS believe that all children have a right to facilities, appropriate support, treatment and intervention to ensure the highest attainable standard of mental health and rehabilitation in line with Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The group has identified key reforms that it calls on the Ministers and the Irish Government to implement as a matter of urgency.
- Annual ring-fenced funding for CAMHS
- Address the clinical and administrative staffing shortage in CAMHS;
- Remedy issues preventing access to CAMH Services (including lengthy waiting lists and lack of consistency around acceptance of referrals to the service);
- Integrate the children’s mental health services with other children’s services to prevent the current myriad of endless and uncoordinated waiting lists and the pass-the-buck approach currently being experienced by our families;
- Increase the availability of supports offered to promote a child-centred approach to recovery (including ending the practice of discharging children whose families decide not to use medication and delivering on the commitment to provide out-of-hours mental health services);
- End the systemic discrimination against autistic children in the provision of mental health services and greater recognition of the prevalence of mental health issues amongst autistic children;
- Increase the number of CAMHS-ID teams and ensure a clear referral path to access them;
- Ensure the appointment of a key worker and provision of a Care Plan to every child under the remit of CAMHS in line with the HSE CAMHS Operational Guidelines 2019 (this has not been the experience of our families);
- Substantially improve the communication and provision of information between CAMHS and families under their remit; and
- Ensure the introduction of a transparent, accessible and safe review and complaints process.
A number of the reforms have already been committed to but never delivered on.
We urge the Government to now move into a place of real implementation so that the prioritisation of children’s mental health services is not limited to ideals and rhetoric.
For more information please see below our:
- List of 10 key reforms and 31 sub-reforms
- Submission to the Minister for Mental Health Mary Butler, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O'Gorman.