20 Sep 2005

MORE than one fifth of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People’s work from complaints arises from problems experienced with child and adolescent mental health services, it was revealed today.

Out of NICCY’s 15 priorities, children’s mental health services takes up the largest proportion of time for the office’s legal and complaints team – from young people throughout Northern Ireland.

That it takes up such a high proportion of the time reflects the seriousness of the cases which come to the attention of the commissioner and his team.

“At a time when my Message to the Minister campaign is continuing to receive impassioned pleas for support on suicide and self-harm it is clear from the time required to deal with complaints that these services need to be improved,” said the Commissioner, Mr Nigel Williams.

“Each of the cases that comes to my office from children, young people and their parents and carers over mental health services requires time, energy and commitment from my staff to try and resolve the complicated issues young people face in getting the right support in what are often extremely distressing circumstances.”

Mr Williams said he believed that young people’s voices need to be heard in the debate over the best way to tackle the tragedy of suicide currently being discussed by the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Mr Shaun Woodward and his Task Force.

“The Message to the Minister campaign on www.niccy.org means young people can post their messages to my office, which we will then collate and send on to the Minister.”

Notes for Editors

Full details of the Message to the Minister campaign can be found at www.niccy.org