Mental Health Reform, Ireland’s leading national coalition for mental health, is today responding to the Mental Health Commission’s Independent Review of the provision of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the State.
The report reviews CAMHS in the HSE’s nine community healthcare organisations (CHOs) across Ireland.
“This report is a stark reflection of the systemic failures in our mental health services, said Fiona Coyle, CEO of Mental Health Reform. The lack of standardised treatment across our mental health services is extremely concerning. Every child should have access to high-quality, appropriate mental health care regardless of where they live. We need strong leadership, accountability, and immediate action to address these challenges.
The report highlights significant disparities in the quality of care provided by CAMHS teams across the country. It is alarming that some CAMHS teams are neglecting to monitor children using antipsychotic medication. The lack of follow-up care is also of serious concern. We must restore trust in the mental health system and ensure that families and children receive the high standard of care they deserve,” adds Coyle.
Mental Health Reform is urgently advocating for the reinstatement of a National Director for Mental Health, reporting directly to the HSE CEO, to drive accountability and facilitate change. This position is critical to ensuring oversight and leadership in Ireland’s mental health system.
Mental Health Reform welcomes the recognition of the vital work carried out by frontline service providers in the report. However, we are deeply concerned about the harmful impact of persistent staff shortages and recruitment issues on mental health professionals. This current situation has led to an overburdened and burnt-out workforce.
Additionally, the safety and quality of mental health services for children and young people have been compromised due to lengthy waiting lists and a lack of resources. These long delays in accessing care have caused significant distress and frustration for families in need of urgent support.
Equally important in this discussion is investing in early intervention and prevention services. We must ensure that young people receive the necessary support before their mental health challenges escalate. This is not just crucial, but it’s a matter of urgency.
The voluntary and community mental health sector plays a vital role in delivering early intervention and prevention services. Despite this, the funding provided is often insufficient to meet the increased demand. Mental Health Reform is calling for additional funding to be allocated to voluntary and community providers in the upcoming budget.
Children should be able to rely on our mental health services in their hour of need. We must do all we can to restore trust in the mental health system and ensure that families and children receive the high standard of care they deserve.”