Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children

Child and Infant Mental Health: Discussion

9:30 am

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

It underpins the seriousness of early intervention. Does he believe there is a role for the introduction into the education curriculum, either at preschool or in the early school years for cognitive behaviour therapy, CBT? That would be one area to develop in terms of some self awareness for children to recognise the source of issues that arise. Professor Nugent's description of the early influence of external factors point to the significant role of the economy, job insecurity, quality of home and community. That has an important role to play in this country, which is a perfect example of a relatively small society that has had a significant impact from the collapse of the international market and its impact on the individual and the community.

My final point relates to the chronic lack of an appropriate, acute residential unit for children experiencing self harm or a holistic safe location for mental health supports. When children are placed on adult wards it becomes a lifelong stigma for the child. Could Ms Mitchell provide a progressive analysis of the shortcomings in the service, where we need to provide more, what the policy is and whether it is being fully implemented?

It is very difficult to measure or benchmark key performance indicators in the area of child and adolescent mental health services. It is also difficult to say, in the context of the provision of €35 million to secure transparency on per annum current expenditure in that area, that it is not a case of €35 million, as the amount builds every year in current expenditure. In year 2 it is €70 million and in year 3 it is €105 million. If the money is not spent at all it is not just a case of €35 million that is not being spent. What is the consequence, in particular in the area of capital expenditure of the chronic lack of child and adolescent mental health beds in an acute residential setting? How many beds do we need and what is the level of urgency in the area?


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