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Child and Adolescent Mental Health Remains Critically Under Resourced

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Tags: Mental Health, Health, State Budget

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Health spokesperson 

Tasmania's youth mental health services remain the most poorly resourced in the country, despite the extra funding allocated to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service in this year's State Budget.

As at January this year according to CAMHS psychiatrist, Dr Fiona Wagg, staffing was at a third to a quarter of what it should be and the service had been further eroded by saving strategies implemented after last year's State Budget.

The extra $2.4 million over four years will not address the historical underfund of CAMHS or the impact of last year's cuts across the Department of Health and Human Services.

I understand there are currently four or more unfilled positions at Clare House and that too many young people experiencing mental distress are being made to wait for months to see a clinical specialist.

There is also a chronic shortage of clinical psychiatrists, child psychologists and paediatricians across the state, with some parents travelling to Melbourne to access specialists and get a diagnosis for their child.

The extra $2.4 million is much needed to address waiting lists but it will not have a meaningful impact on unmet need for youth mental health services state-wide.

On behalf of young Tasmanians currently experiencing mental distress, I urge the Health Minister not to make this funding announcement the beginning and end of his response to children, adolescents and their parents who desperately require access to improved mental health services.