4 Aug 2006

A COMPREHENSIVE review into child and adolescent mental health services shows the urgent need for action to improve services, the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Barney McNeany, said today.

A review of the services, published earlier this week, highlights the lack of appropriate facilities, problems recruiting staff and the need for expanded services.

“Since the office of the Children’s Commissioner was first set-up we have said that services for children and young people who need help with their mental health are inadequate,” said Mr McNeany.

“We have campaigned on issues such as suicide, self-harm and young people having to share mental health wards with adults.

“I believe the recommendations of this report, together with the suicide strategy announced earlier this year, means the Government must now act with increasing urgency to improve services.”

Mr McNeany said that strategies, consultations and reviews on child and adolescent mental health services had been going on for several years. The Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Paul Goggins has agreed to meet NICCY in coming weeks.

“At that meeting I will be emphasising to Mr Goggins that immediate action has to be taken to improve services,” said the Commissioner.

“Children and young people who were in need of help three years ago are still having to make do with services that from the evidence of this review and from what families have told us, are clearly not good enough.”

The review of child and adolescent mental health services published earlier this week is part of the work of the Bamford Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability.