Dublin People

‘Damning’ Mental Health Commission report finds CAMHS is unfit for purpose

Minister for Mental Health Mary Butler has been called upon to issue a statement following the publication of a “damning report” by the Mental Health Commision into Child and Adolescent Mental Health Commission (CAMHS).

The report found serious concerns and consequent risks for patients in CAMHS across the country.

Sinn Fein spokesperson on mental health Mark Ward TD said that the Oireachtas Mental Health Committee should meet urgently with the HSE to discuss the crisis in children’s mental health, and added that it is clear that CAMHS is not working in its current format.

“The publication of a damning interim report into CAMHS has shown that we have now gone way beyond crisis point when it comes to our children’s mental health.

“Only last week I raised the issue that the number of children waiting on an appointment with CAMHS has increased by 86 percent under this government.

“Of major concern is the situation of the ‘lost children’ identified in this report.

“This pertains to children and young people with open cases, who have been lost to follow-up.

“Ultimately the report describes a situation of children, who should have had follow-up appointments, including review of prescriptions or monitoring of medication, waiting for an appointment in some cases for up to two years.

“That is completely unacceptable.

“That is two years where some teams were not monitoring antipsychotic medication, in accordance with international standards, while other children were taking medication without appropriate blood tests and physical monitoring that is essential when on such medication.”

Deputy Ward said more needs to be done to protect and identify the children who have been failed by the system.

“In one CAMHS team alone, there were 140 ‘lost children’.

“Everything must be done to identify these children immediately to ensure that they receive the appropriate mental health treatment.

“Parents who are concerned that their child is one of the lost children need to be able to access help.

“The Mental Health Commission found that lack of governance in many areas is contributing to some inefficient and unsafe CAMHS services, including the failure to manage risk, failure to fund and recruit key staff.

“The current systems within the HSE are counterproductive as there is a failure to look at alternative models of providing services when recruitment becomes difficult.”

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