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Mental Health Services Failing Children at-Risk

Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services Failing Children at-Risk of Suicide
Ineffective Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service Leaves Children Seriously at-Risk

The Parents of Children with Additional Needs Collective (POCAN NZ) is calling for a nationwide investigation of all Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) after releasing results of a survey of 100 parents regarding their experience. 50% of parents believed their child to be either unsafe or at-risk of suicide prior to accessing CAMH services, and just 6% of those parents believed their children were no longer at-risk as a result of CAHMS intervention. Despite their child having a mental health diagnosis, the majority of parents said that CAMHS did not assess the risk of suicide of their child and any assessment that was carried out was of poor quality.

Spokesperson for POCAN (NZ) and parent, Tracey Rountree says “When young people have the highest suicide rates in New Zealand yet we have Child and Adolescent Mental Health services not assessing children with a mental health condition for their risk of suicide, then we have a problem.”

89% of parents participating in the survey reported that there was no improvement in their child’s anxiety/depression and 77% reported there was no improvement in their child’s behaviour after CAMHS intervention. Overall, parents found the helpfulness and quality of the service to be below average and the effectiveness of the service was perceived as minimal.

“There is such a lack of support services and practical help even once getting a diagnosis or recognition of an issue” says Rountree. “There seems to be very few places in terms of therapy or counselling that understand children or young adults with neurological differences, and you are lucky if you get a staff member that is on to it or seems to care.”

POCAN (NZ) is requesting an increase in Government spending to provide better training and staff resources to the CAHM services and that these are reflected in this year’s budget. “If we want to see a reduction in youth suicide, we have to be looking at the quality of our services to our most vulnerable children.”

POCAN’s 2016 survey approached parents nationwide who had children accessing Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services aged between 5 and 18. The average age was 10.7 years of age.


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