Tuesday, 13 June 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
162. Mr. O’Shea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her proposals in regard to the under-recognition and under-resourcing of services for mental illness in childhood; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22281/06]
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. T. O’Malley): As the Deputy may be aware, the future direction and delivery of all aspects of our mental health services, including child and adolescent psychiatry, were considered in the context of the work of the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy. The Government published the Group’s report entitled “A Vision for Change” in January, 2006.
The report sets out how positive mental health in children can be promoted generally in our society, and how specialist mental health services can be delivered efficiently to children who need them. Child and adolescent psychiatric services are in place in each Health Service Executive area, with 39 child community health teams offering a wide rage of therapeutic approaches.
“A Vision for Change” acknowledges gaps in the current provision of child and adolescent services and makes several recommendations for the further improvement of these services. Recommendations include early intervention and health promotion programmes, primary and community care services, specialist mental health services for the treatment of complex disorders and the provision of additional Child Community Mental Health Teams. The Government has accepted the Expert Group’s report as the basis for the future development of the mental health services.
The development of child and adolescent psychiatric services has been a priority for my Department in recent years. The number of approved child and adolescent consultant psychiatrist posts has been increased from 45 in 2000 to 70 in 2006.
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