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Additional investment in mental health service means earlier intervention and better care for children

Friday, 26 February 2016

An additional eight healthcare staff are being appointed within the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) as part the Island’s first ever Strategic Plan for Mental Health and Wellbeing, approved by Tynwald last year.

The move will mean earlier intervention for children with mental health problems, better care at home and in the community with a new ‘wraparound’ service, a reduction in the number of children referred to the UK for treatment, and the expansion of CAMHS to include 17 and 18 year olds in full time education.

Minister for Health and Social Care, Howard Quayle MHK, said:

'Good mental health and wellbeing for our whole community is very important, but particularly so for our young people. Intervening to help young people with mental health issues is important for its own sake, however giving that support and care as early as possible in childhood can be more effective than doing so later in life. 

'Early support helps to give our young people experiencing problems a better childhood which means they’re likely to do better at school and have better career prospects.'

The development of CAMHS to intervene sooner is part of the Department’s five year strategy, which seeks to place greater emphasis on prevention and providing care sooner to avoid health problems developing in the first place or, at least, becoming more complex.

The move is expected to be cost neutral in the long term. Funding for the first year will come from the central Health Inspection Fund. The expected reductions in UK placements for children that earlier intervention will bring means that as much as £300,000 a year could be saved, with the money reallocated to fund the eight additional care posts on an ongoing basis.

Specialist treatment in the UK can cost as much as £4,000 a week per child and there is intense competition to secure beds.

A new ‘wraparound’ service will ensure that there is additional support available 24 hours a day for young people who may require a risk assessment or who are admitted to hospital.

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