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Need Highlighted For Dedicated Mental Services

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Deaths highlight need for more dedicated children¹s and young people's mental health services

The Office of the Children's Commissioner is calling for more dedicated children's and young people's mental health, drug and alcohol services.

The call comes following the Coroners Court inquest into the deaths of six people aged 15-27 years who died after sniffing solvents. School principals have told the Coroners Court about the struggle to find services for young people affected by drugs, alcohol and mental health issues.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Children's Commissioner Dr Mavis Duncanson says the acute shortage of services, and especially residential services, is a longstanding problem that needs to be addressed. Dr Duncanson says there is a growing need for dedicated services that understand the developmental needs of young people. These services need to include a range of expertise, including community health workers and nurses, she says.

"Young people have told the office of the trauma of not being able to access services. Young people have also talked about the high risk of suicide, as well as the need for services that are easy to access and confidential."

More transition services are also needed to return young people, who have experienced acute mental health episodes or addiction, back to the community, Dr Duncanson says.

ENDS

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