Roisin Shortall TD

Children and adolescents experiencing mental health difficulties are being failed by the State

Today’s damning report into Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) must be a catalyst for fundamental change in how the HSE operates, according to Social Democrats health spokesperson Róisín Shortall.

“The independent review of CAMHS by Dr Susan Finnerty, the Inspector of Mental Health Services, reveals a level of dysfunction that goes far beyond what was feared.

“The report, published today by the Mental Health Commission, spells out in the starkest terms the serious shortcomings in the way the HSE functions. This has resulted in a failure by the State to meet the needs of children with mental health difficulties.

“The review highlights inadequate governance systems, over-centralised decision-making, a lack of evidence-based approach to practices and a failure to plan for staffing needs. Inadequate funding and poor data systems were also identified in the report.

“It is worth noting that the sorry state of children’s mental health services only came to light because of a whistleblower. However, rather than encouraging an open culture, too often we see people who speak out being ostracised. Cultural change in the HSE is therefore essential if the needs of our most vulnerable children are to be met.

“I welcome the publication of Dr Finnerty’s report, which must be a catalyst for fundamental change in the operation of the HSE, especially in the area of children’s mental health services.

“In the context of this shocking report, the Government’s promises of a ‘giveaway Budget’ ring particularly hollow.”

July 26, 2023

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