Australia Parents share heartache of Tasmania's 'underfunded' adolescent mental health service

03:16  27 september  2020
03:16  27 september  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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Mental health determinants. Adolescence is a crucial period for developing and maintaining social and emotional habits Some adolescents are at greater risk of mental health conditions due to their living conditions, stigma, discrimination or exclusion, or lack of access to quality support and services .

Most adolescent mortality and morbidity is preventable or treatable, but adolescents face specific barriers in accessing Improving the evidence base on adolescent health is crucial. WHO supports countries to improve measurement and strengthen data, conducts research, and shares best practice.

a man wearing a hat: Brodie Young took his own life after being © Provided by ABC Health Brodie Young took his own life after being "let down by the system", says his mother. (Supplied: Tracey Harding)

The first registrar to treat Brad Klaffer's 14-year-old son in the Royal Hobart Hospital quickly built a rapport with the teen, who was experiencing psychosis.

Within days, however, the doctor left the ward without explanation — and his long-term replacement did not materialise for almost two weeks as they were stuck in hotel quarantine.

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Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is the name for NHS-provided services in the United Kingdom for children, generally until school-leaving age, who are having difficulties with their emotional or behavioural well-being.

Who can access this service ? The Adolescent Mental Health Inpatient Unit provides specialist mental health care for children and young people who Health Sciences PIMH (University of Melbourne) Dr John Varghese M.B.B. S ,FRANZCP,RANZP Cert Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Dr Ray Cash

The 14-year-old was wrongly awoken by nurses at 4am every day because the Child and Adolescent Mental Health team had failed to tell other hospital staff that early observations were no longer required.

Mr Klaffer's son was at one stage moved from a dedicated adolescent mental health bed into a private unit set aside for people with coronavirus to make way for another patient.

In the early days of his admission, he was not allowed outside for fresh air because the dedicated outdoor area in the new hospital was not considered safe.

Upon discharge, his family was offered care through the public health system — but was told there was a four to six week wait for an appointment with a psychologist.

Fed up, the teenager's family has sought private treatment at a cost of hundreds of dollars per hour every week.

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The comprehensive mental health action plan 2013–2020, adopted by the 66th World Health Assembly, provides a framework for strengthening capacities in countries to address the mental health needs of children and adolescents . The Department encourages the adoption of a life-cycle

Mental health is just one part of your overall health and wellbeing. Just like you can feel physically healthy or a Together, we will come to a shared understanding of what has been happening, and CYMHS clinicians specialise in infant, child, adolescent and family mental health and development.

"It's been a very challenging time," Mr Klaffer said.

"The good news is he's responding really well."

Mr Klaffer said he did not blame individual staff for his son's experience, but that it was clear the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service was underfunded.

He's speaking out because he's afraid families without his resources or confidence could get lost in the system.

"I can understand why our borders are up, because our health system wouldn't be able to cope," Mr Klaffer said.

"I think it's been underfunded for many, many years, and it shows when you walk your way through there."

Mr Klaffer is not alone.

CAMHS 'can improve' says minister

Earlier this month, a leaked review of CAMHS laid bare widespread issues within the service.

Among the damning findings were that:

  • CAMHS funding "does not approach" the amount required to meet Tasmania's needs
  • Children and teenagers with severe and complex needs — ranging from those with autism spectrum disorder to people who had been sexually abused — were "generally not accepted" by CAMHS
  • Acute services were effectively unavailable outside of business hours
  • Stakeholders such as doctors and Education Department staff said they had stopped referring "their most difficult consumers" to CAMHS because the service was unable to assist those young people.

Responding to the report at the time, Mental Health Minister Jeremy Rockliff emphasised it was only a draft, and that a final version was forthcoming.

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1. Mental health 2. Policy-making 3. Adolescent health services - legislation 4. Child health services - legislation 5. Social justice 6. Health planning The Mental Health Policy and Service Guidance Package was produced under the direction of Dr Michelle Funk, Coordinator, Mental Health Policy

Health Insurance and Mental Health Services . Participate in a Clinical Trial. Mental Health Speakers provides a directory of Active Minds speakers that can bring the mental health The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry’ s (AACAP) mission is to promote the healthy

In a statement on Friday, he said: "The Government takes child and adolescent mental health extremely seriously and we are committed to developing an integrated pathway for children, adolescents, their families and carers to navigate the mental health system."

"We absolutely agree there are areas we can improve, and we embarked on this process because we recognise we do need the best possible mental health services across Tasmania."

Labor health spokeswoman Sarah Lovell said action should be swift.

"We need to hear from the Minister for Mental Health that he is committed to releasing that final report and that the Government is committed to adopting the recommendations from that report."

According to youth mental health expert Patrick McGorry, it would take more than a review to enact much-needed change.

The 2010 Australian of the Year said that Tasmania — and other jurisdictions around the country — had historically failed to make youth mental health a top priority.

"It takes political will and community support to make sure the investments are there and the serious reforms that are needed do actually take place," Professor McGorry said.

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Improving Mental Health Services in Primary Care: Reducing Administrative and Financial Barriers to Educate Public • Examples: • Parent education (anticipatory guidance, building resilience, early American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Organizations Involved • Liaisons to TF

Schools are important settings for increasing reach and uptake of adolescent mental health interventions. There is limited consensus on the focus and SBMHSs are desired by adolescents and adult stakeholders in this setting where few such services exist. Sensitization activities are required to

'Let down by the system'

Tracey Harding is another parent who has had dealings with CAMHS.

Her involvement ended in tragedy.

Her son, Brodie Young, took his life aged just 23 after years of struggling for support in managing what was eventually recognised as schizophrenia.

Between the ages of 16 and 18, Ms Harding said, Brodie battled a "raging drug habit".

"These kids are let down by the system," Ms Harding said.

"They're not bad people. They're just trying to stop their head exploding."

Her plea to the Tasmanian Government was simple: better fund early intervention so other families don't suffer the same fate.

"If you can put the money into a bloody football club, surely to God you can spend money so we have happy, productive kids later on," Ms Harding said.

Mr Rockliff said: "The Government acknowledges that there are longstanding issues and gaps within our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, which is exactly why we commissioned a review last year.

"We welcome reform to CAMHS, and we are committed to getting it right as young Tasmanians deserve nothing less than the best possible mental health supports and services."

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