Thursday 21 September 2017

Parents and caregivers with experience of children's mental health care invited to share stories to help draft legislation

Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House, with Miriam O'Callaghan at the Darkness into Light launch last year Photo: Arthur Carron Photo: Arthur Carron
Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House, with Miriam O'Callaghan at the Darkness into Light launch last year Photo: Arthur Carron Photo: Arthur Carron

Parents and caregivers with experience of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are being invited to share their stories in the Seanad.

Senator Joan Freeman, founder of suicide and self-harm charity Pieta House, is urging parents and caregivers of children and adolescents with experience of CAMHS to come forward as their stories will help shape new legislation in the area.

Sen Freeman is spearheading a public consultation process that will directly impact on new legislation governing children's mental health care.

She has been appointed Rappointeur to the lead the Seanad's Public Consultation Committee - and is now calling on those with experience to share their stories.

"The primary focus of this Public Consultation process is to provide a forum where Child and Adolescent Mental Health service users (including children and their parents), key civil society activists, and service providers who have engaged, or are presently engaging, with mental health services in Ireland can bring their views to the Oireachtas.

 "Specifically, we are seeking their experience of current practice and views on how we can modernise and improve children’s mental health services in Ireland.

“Our public consultation takes place as the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2016 moves through the legislative process, a piece of legislation designed to end the practice of admitting children to adult psychiatric units.

“Evidence, including that of the Mental Health Commission, indicates that there is much room for improvement in how we look after those that need it the most, and so we are calling on those who have direct experience of the current children’s mental health system to assist us in putting forward recommendations for change and be actively involved in creating public policy.”

Seanad Leas-Chathaoirleach and Committee Chairman Senator Paul Coghlan said: “Today we are launching a call for public submissions on the area of children’s mental health in Ireland. This process facilitates direct engagement and consultation between members of the public and Seanad Éireann and allows citizens and interest groups to interact directly with Parliament and become active participants in the democratic process.”

The closing date for stories is 4pm on Friday May 12.

Visit facebook.com/senatorjoanfreeman for details of how to submit, share and support.

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