Launch of Report by Taskforce on Youth Mental Health a Failed Opportunity

Launch of Report by Taskforce on Youth Mental Health a Failed Opportunity

Mental Health Reform, the national coalition on mental health, has today called the launch of the
report by the Taskforce on Youth Mental Health a failed opportunity, highlighting the absence of any
budget commitment for implementation. Speaking at the launch of the report, Director of Mental
Health Reform, Shari McDaid, said,

“The report launched today makes some strong recommendations in areas that Mental Health
Reform has been actively campaigning in. In particular we welcome the recommendation to
establish an independent National Youth Mental Health Advocacy and Information service, and the
recommendation to reform the consent provisions under the Mental Health Act 2001, which will
give young people the same rights to make decisions about their mental health treatment as
someone being treated for a physical health difficulty.”

Dr. McDaid continued, “However, overall it must be said that the lack of additional funding attached
to the recommendations in the report represent a failed opportunity to make a bigger impact on
young people’s mental health in Ireland. It was reported earlier this month that 2,500 children were
waiting for their first mental health appointment. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
continue to operate at just 50% of recommended staffing levels. For mental health supports in
higher education, a recent report found that some institutions have indicated a 41% increase in
students seeking counselling over the past three years, and that there is now a six month waiting list
for counselling services in many institutions.”

Dr. McDaid concluded, “We are also disappointed that the timeframe for update of the Mental
Health Act is indicated as being Q3 of 2018. More than two and a half years have passed since the
publication of the Expert Group review of the Act. More urgency is needed to improve the
protection of young people’s human rights in mental health care in Ireland.”

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