Recruitment commences for new Child and Youth Mental Health Assistant Lead supported by dedicated team

by Rose Barrett
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Following weeks of media focus and condemnation of the current support system for young people in crisis, Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD confirms today that recruitment has commenced for a new Child and Youth Mental Health Lead at Assistant National Director Level, supported by a dedicated team.

The Minister’s response comes in response to The Maskay Report, along with a report by the Inspector of Mental Health Services, Dr Susan Finnerty who highlighted some very serious issues with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health System (CAMHS).

CAMHS facilities in five out of nine community health care organisation regions covering much of Leinster and Munster were analysed with the lack of support services and the crisis facing CAMHS being highlighted.

Children were found to be ‘lost’ in the system, with lack of emergency supports out of hours, long waiting lists, staffing shortages, failure to manage high risk cases, and anti-psychotic drugs prescribed in many cases without proper supervision.

Dr Finnerty’s interim report called on the HSE to begin an immediate clinical review of all open cases nationwide.

Today, funding for the new post secured by Minister Mary Butler under Budget 2023 will fill an acknowledged gap to better link youth mental health across various strands

The HSE is advertising this week for this key new role in its mental health service

This key new role will provide leadership, operational oversight, and delegated management of all service delivery across child and youth mental health services across the country. 

They will also be responsible for managing and coordinating service planning activities, partnership and capacity building, the development of service plans, and setting of service standards right across child and youth mental health services in Ireland.

The post holder will report to the HSE National Director for Community Operations and will be supported by a dedicated team for which funding has been provided.

However, many industry providers have warned that the shortage of social workers and staff in the mental health sector must also be urgently addressed.

It is hoped that the new role along with the wider Child and Youth Mental Health office, will result in improved links with the National Clinical Advisor Group Lead Mental Health, which in turn will support the development of current and future youth mental health-related National Clinical Programmes. 

Minister Butler stated: “I am really pleased to see that the HSE has now advertised for this vital new role. The progression of this role has been a key priority for me over the past year, and it will play a crucial part in ensuring that integrated mental health services for young people have a more centralised and evidence-based focus within the HSE.”

“We will see the completed reviews and audits arising from the Maskey Report, along with the Final Report of the Mental Health Commission on CAMHS later this year, which together will give us real time data never available before to support this new post. Importantly, there will be new support staff to underpin this welcome initiative.

“I will ensure that the HSE also progresses as quickly as possible the new post of National Clinical Lead for Youth Mental Health as announced in the Dáil over the last week”.

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