Health Minister Sarah Courtney says the CAMHS review is “in its final stages”.
(ABC News: Mitchell Woolnough)
Health Minister Sarah Courtney said she had not seen the report but that the review obtained by the ABC was only a draft.
“I’m not going to anticipate the recommendations of a report that has not been finalised, I know it’s in its final stages and the government is clearly committed, it’s an important area of need,” Ms Courtney said.
Full review recommended
The report author, psychiatrist Brett McDermott, has made seven recommendations, including better funding the service.
“To positively impact the lives of young Tasmanians with the most complex and challenging mental health presentations, CAMHS should acknowledge that those with severe and complex challenges are its core business,” Professor McDermott’s report said.
He found that it was unlikely a young Tasmanian with autism spectrum disorder and depression who came from a separated family would be accepted for referral by CAMHS.
Similarly, Professor McDermott wrote, a young person with major depression who was managed by the juvenile justice system in the community was unlikely to be seen by the service.
“It is the opinion of the author that current CAMHS services to juvenile justice consumers and support of this system in general is particularly poor,” the report said.
Professor McDermott has also recommended the creation of a dedicated mental health support service for children in out-of-home-care, and the construction of a “discrete” mental health in-patient unit for children and adolescents in the redeveloped Royal Hobart Hospital.
He suggested this should be done to help phase out the admission of mentally ill young people to adult mental health wards or paediatric units.
Health and Community Services Union state secretary Tim Jacobson said the issues with CAMHS were long-standing and serious.
“How terrible is it that we have a system, a government that is responsible for looking after children, that is not even providing the basic mental health services that they need,” Mr Jacobson said.
Tasmania ‘at the forefront of having nothing’
Ms Rowlings has this year started her own support group for the parents and carers of children and teens with eating disorders in northern Tasmania.
One of her daughters is still under CAMHS’ jurisdiction. When the family sought appropriate private therapy locally, they were told there was a 12-month wait.
“[CAMHS just needs more] resources, more ways of being able to reach children,” she said.
The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Review, dated August, is the latest to call for change.
In 2015, Coroner Olivia McTaggart made sweeping recommendations about improving youth mental health services, after the suicides of six teenagers.
Ted Mead is awaiting the coroner’s findings into the 2017 suicide of his son Liam.
His wife, Juliet Lavers, became an advocate for youth mental health services after their 16-year-old’s tragic death, but she took her own life last year.
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Ted Mead is awaiting the coroner’s findings into the 2017 suicide of his 16-year-old son, Liam.
(ABC News: Scott Ross)
Mr Mead was recently contacted by a mother in Devonport whose child had “the same issues and the same symptoms” as his son Liam.
The latest report into services said there was a particular lack of resources in Tasmania’s north-west, with no clinical psychologist and staff stretched between the Mersey Community Hospital and North West Regional Hospital.
“As far as mental health services go in Tasmania it can only go up,” Mr Mead said.
“It’s rock bottom in my view.”
In a statement, Mental Health Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the CAMHS review was in its final stages.
“The Tasmanian Government welcomes reform, as we want to get it right,” Mr Rockliff said.
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