AsIAm Calls on Minister for Mental Health to Include all Autistic People in Nationwide CAMHS Audit

 

AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity is deeply concerned by the Child Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) approach to exclude Autistic people and their families from the upcoming audit of its services.

AsIAm was disappointed to learn of this direction by CAMHS which deliberately sets out to exclude a number of Autistic people. Such a direction is regressive considering we know there are Autistic people who are on mental health medications, without a formal mental health diagnosis. It is nothing short of a disgrace that this cohort would be excluded and will cause many to ask why this is the case. Whilst it is acknowledged that this review is to include Autistic people with a co-occurring formal mental health condition, the audit sets out to exclude those with a primary diagnosis of autism.

This direction by the Minister and a public service provider is deeply disappointing and concerning with such a policy direction flying in the face of good practice. AsIAm is steadfast in its position that any audit of CAMHS must be inclusive, transparent, and open to include all autistic people who avail of its services. Such a step would mitigate any further and future issues arising in the delivery of mental health services for all people in Ireland.

Deputy CEO, Fiona Ferris said, “Families across the country have been deeply concerned about recent developments in CAMHS. Autistic people and their families have particularly negative experiences interacting with the Child Adolescent Mental Health Services, owing to a lack of clear pathways to mental health supports which can be dangerous. It is therefore deeply concerning Autistic people won’t get the same level of assurance during this audit as others would.”

She added, “Prima facie this approach and direction by CAMHS is discriminatory and inequitable. If Autism is a primary diagnosis which there is no medication for, and such a person has been prescribed medication by a psychiatrist the only team who could be responsible is CAMHS, as disability teams do not have psychiatrist on staff.”

AsIAm is calling on Minister Butler to urgently sanction the inclusion of all autistic people within this CAMHS review, to ensure the future delivery of mental health services in Ireland is equitable across the board, irrespective of diagnosis.

 

 

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