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Overhaul needed on child and adolescent mental health

  • Leaked report shows deeply flawed system
  • System-wide reform, funding needed to address systemic failures
  • Government should adopt Labor’s mental health workers in schools policy 

A leaked report on the state of Tasmania’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) confirms the need for system-wide reform and funding to meet the scale of the challenge.

Shadow Minister for Health Sarah Lovell said the report paints a damning picture of chronic under-resourcing and systemic failure.

“This report confirms what we have long known – that the approach to service delivery in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services is deeply flawed,” Ms Lovell said.

“The report points to tension between CAMHS and external stakeholders.

“This includes a belief among stakeholders that CAMHS operates by using exclusion instead of inclusion criteria and are more willing to state which cases they will not see rather than those they will, which in turn leads to CAMHS clinicians and staff feeling undervalued and frustrated by their inability to help young people who desperately need it.

“This is not a reflection on the hard-working CAMHS staff, but on the system itself, which has been set up to fail.

“Child and adolescent mental health is one of the most complex areas of healthcare but it is also one of the most important, and fixing it requires a comprehensive rethink.

“We need fundamental, system-wide reform and resourcing that matches the scale of the challenge to give all young Tasmanians the mental health support they need.

“An important part of that must be investment in primary care and prevention so that people do not end up needing to access crisis care.

“Labor continues to urge the government to adopt its policy of having mental health workers in all Tasmanian schools. That policy would form one part of a preventative health approach. 

“With these systemic failures and the impact of COVID-19 on students’ mental health, we need to provide all the support we can, to help our children and adolescents cope with any challenges they are facing.”

Sarah Lovell
Shadow Minister for Health