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Moves on Child Mental Health Urged

Hon Roger McClay

Commissioner for Children 2 April 2001

Moves on Child Mental Health Urged

Improved access to assessment and emergency services for child mental health sufferers was urged by the Commissioner for Children Roger McClay today.

Mr McClay was speaking at the Seminar on Child Mental Health at Parliament Buildings.

He told the meeting that there were five issues he hoped would be implemented in the future.

1. Improved Access to Skilled Assessment Services:

The need for improved and updated early assessment services that are, inclusive of the complex nature of adolescence mental illness, and New Zealand’s traditionally callous approach to early diagnoses that at times have a diverse affect on the young persons ability to remain safe within the community ie DSM4 Model – lack of access to resource due to lack of diagnosis.

2. Accessible Acute Emergency Services:

Provisions for young people suffering acute mental illness which provides residential or home based support or respite services for young people who are at risk from themselves or to others who need 24 supervised care.

3. Well Co-ordinated Wrap Around Services:

Services that are "well family focused", that works towards achieving the healthy maintenance of the individual young persons mental illness and the families wellness in order to provide support to the young person long-term. These services might include:

- Access to trained skilled support services ie social workers, counsellors, and psychiatrists who provide whole family wrap around response.

- Accessible time-out and caregiver relief services.


- Inter-agency co-ordination of other searches involved with delivery to adolescence ie strengthening families model.

4. Mental Health and Educational Interface:

The need for co-ordinated mental health support and educational programmes within schools to ensure the best possible support for adolescence within a school environment. These services need to include:

- Teacher support programmes

- Accessible curriculum delivery options

- Alternative schooling options for periods of unwellness

- Specialised and transferable support services ie minders, social workers, trained specialised teacher aides (work between schools as a shared resource).

5. Co-ordinated services between Mental Health and Social Services:

Alternative care options and support services for families whose limitations are such that they are unable to provide suitable safe environment or support services for those whose adolescence mental health requires extensive support and management. Clearly separating the unsafe or unable families from families who are currently coming to notice due to lack of support services available to them.

ENDS

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