Children and mental health services

Mental Health Commission recommendations must be acted upon

Sir, – Families for Reform of Camhs is a new group of 280 families calling for the urgent reform of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

The Mental Health Commission’s report, which was published two weeks ago, confirmed what we as families already knew – that Camhs cannot offer a safe and effective service for our children.

The report gave us hope though. The recommendations provide a clear direction and path to tackle and overhaul the current failing system. There was a flurry of media attention and we have undertaken numerous media engagements to share our stories so that people are aware of how our children are being seriously failed.

We are advocates out of necessity not by choice.


The Government has not made any real response to the report nor given any commitment to undertake its recommendations. And we are wondering why.

Speculation only leads to negative assumptions so we are calling on the Government to provide our families with some assurance that the report is going to be taken seriously and that the failings are going to be addressed.

Last week, the Ombudsman for Children Dr Niall Muldoon set out that there is a clear violation of children’s rights and that while alarm bells have been rung for years, mental health services for children are going backwards.

And yet there is silence from the Government.

This feels like such a blow to our families.

We have children in desperate need of support and help who are just not receiving it. Children who are deteriorating while on endless waiting lists. Children missing out on the happy, carefree childhoods that we had imagined for them.

We have families whose hearts are breaking seeing the despair and pain of their child or of their brother or sister. Families scared that their child might become unwell again as they now know they won’t get the help they need.

And there just seems to be nobody to turn to. We are alone with this and there is no clear roadmap as to where we can find support.

And some of our children simply cannot wait. And others should not have to wait.

We are calling on the Government to now prioritise the urgent reform of Camhs and to ensure adequate, ring-fenced funding to deliver on this. And to respond to the Mental Health Commission’s report and to commit to the implementation of its 49 recommendations.

We see statements about how the Taoiseach would like Ireland to be the best country in Europe to be a child. Here is such a huge opportunity to work towards that. Now is the time to step in and take meaningful action and to leave a lasting legacy for the children of Ireland. – Yours, etc,


Families for Reform of Camhs,