Minister Butler launches new HSE National Youth Mental Health Office. September 11th 2023

Minister Butler launches new HSE National Youth Mental Health Office

Minister for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler has today announced the launch of the new National Youth Mental Health Office in the Health Service Executive (HSE). The new National Office will focus on delivering strengthened and more integrated supports for child and youth mental health care across Ireland.

This new HSE office will provide for coordinated input across service, legislative and policy developments for all child and youth mental area areas, from prevention and early intervention to the specialised Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

This is a very significant development, and it will improve leadership, operational oversight, and management of all service delivery and improvements. A new HSE National Clinical Lead for Youth Mental Health has already taken up post – Dr Amanda Burke - with a new Assistant National Director for Child and Youth Mental Health starting later this month. They will be supported by additional and dedicated staff for the National Office.

Other priorities for the new National Office will include improved links to other care programmes such as primary care and disability services, as well as external agencies across the education, childcare and youth justice fields. It will also underpin current and planned initiatives arising from the recent Maskey and Mental Health Commission Reports on CAMHS as well as the forthcoming HSE audits on the current CAMHS Operational Guidelines and Service User experience. The Office will work closely with the Mental Health Commission.

A key focus of the new National Office for Youth Mental Health will be improved and centralised data collection and analysis to help inform new service responses for child and youth mental health.

The government remains committed to developing all aspects of mental health, under our national mental health policies and the HSE Annual Service Plans. The overall budget for mental health has increased by nearly 20% during the term of this government to €1.2 billion this year. €137 million is being provided to CAMHS this year. In addition, more than €100 million has been provided to community-based mental health organisations/NGOs this year, with a significant proportion of this dedicated to supporting child and young people.

Minister Butler said:

"The development of a dedicated new HSE National Youth Mental Health Office has been a priority for me and I am really pleased to launch this significant new initiative, that will drive actual progress on the ground. The new National Office is essential to tackling many acknowledged and evolving challenges facing youth mental health overall. Our specialist CAMHS service, in tandem with its Primary Care and NGO counterparts, have risen to unprecedented challenges in recent times, in light of increasing demand and case complexity, staffing vacancies, COVID-19 impacts and online safety issues to name but a few. I have championed this new National Office to fruition and will continue to support it to achieve its short and long-term potential."

Minister Butler added:

"The new National Youth Mental Health Office will, for example, contribute to the comprehensive and complex update of the Mental Health Act 2001, which will benefit many young people in the future and which I am prioritising through the Oireachtas. Key immediate priorities for the National Office will be to drive implementation of relevant recommendations of our national mental health policy Sharing the Vision, including transition care for those reaching age 18 and beyond. It will be key to delivering the record funding of €1.2 billion provided by this government for Mental Health in 2023 – an increase of some €220 million since I became Minister – and for additional investment envisaged for 2024 and beyond."

The launch of the new National Youth Mental Health Office follows the launch last Thursday by Minister Butler of the new Model of Care for CAMHS Hubs nationally, with the HSE piloting new sites across 5 Community Health Organisations (CHOs).