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Dire need for child and adolescent mental health services - Ó Caoláin

31 October, 2006


Responding to new figures showing that almost 300 children and adolescents were admitted or detained in adult psychiatric hospitals last year, Sinn Féin Health and Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the figures indicated "the failure of successive governments to put in place proper mental health services for young people".

The Sinn Féin Dáil leader stated:

"Every single admission or detention of almost 300 children and young people in adult psychiatric hospitals last year represents a failure of the system. These young people are being held in inappropriate circumstances which are affecting them adversely. The HSE has been told that this practice is not safe yet they say it will continue for the foreseeable future.

"These figures indicate the failure of successive governments to put in place a proper mental health services for young people. It is scandalous that there are only, at most, 25 inpatient beds for young people with mental health problems when we need at least 120. Urgent action is required by the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney and the HSE.

"The development of specialist Children's and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is considered to be the most effective way of ensuring that children with mental health needs receive the appropriate treatment.

"Sinn Féin supports the establishment of fully resourced CAMHS throughout Ireland. For them to work effectively a range of agencies including education, youth justice, and the voluntary sector must develop integrated working practices.

"Sinn Féin believes that the Children's and Adolescent Mental Health Services should prioritise the promotion of positive mental health, the prevention of mental ill health, and the provision of accessible and effective treatment." ENDS

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