Our vision is that Ireland should be one of the best places in the world to be a child, where every child’s right to mental health is realised. Not only does the Government have a legal and moral obligation to improve the lives of children in Ireland, it has the power to make this happen.
Children face unacceptably long waiting lists for mental health services, patchy service provision across the country, responses that don’t meet their needs and a lack of focus on early intervention that could prevent future problems. In a shocking violation of their human rights, children continue to be treated in adult inpatient mental health units.
Children have a right to enjoy the highest possible standard of mental health. But this right is not fully respected in Ireland today.
The Children’s Mental Health Coalition is chaired by Mental Health Reform and has 50 member organisations from a range of backgrounds and sectors, including children’s rights, human rights, education and mental health services. It calls on Government to ensure:
That coherent policy is developed and implemented to meet the particular mental health and emotional needs of children in the youth justice system, children in the care system as well as other particularly vulnerable children.
That senior responsibility is assigned within the Department of Education and Skills to develop policy on how mental health and emotional well-being addressed in the education system at preschool, primary and post-primary level. A key focus is that the inter-departmental guidelines being developed in relation to mental health in second level schools provide a road map to schools and a support structure on how to implement a “whole-school approach” to mental health as well clear referral pathways for students.
The delivery of the full complement of child and adolescent community mental health teams promised under A Vision for Change so that no child is denied timely access to such teams.