Young representatives from Hafal met the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Professor Sally Holland, today to discuss the issues around specialist, NHS-provided Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Mair Elliott and Jake Roberts, who have both used CAMHS, presented the findings of the ‘Making Sense’ consultation, which took place over the summer. In the survey, young people and their carers were asked what they want from mental health services. Over 500 people completed the survey.
The consultation findings show that three quarters of CAMHS users have a negative experience of CAMHS. The full findings and the young people’s recommendations will be published in a report for Welsh Government’s review of CAMHS later this year.
Prof. Holland said: “I’m really grateful that the group took the time to speak with me. Learning about the experiences of young people who have needed support to deal with mental ill-health is critically important if I am to effectively promote their rights. CAMHS in Wales is something which I am concerned about and this will be a key priority for my future work.”
The meeting with Prof. Holland comes after two events at Swansea and Bangor universities, where Hafal’s young people presented the results of the ‘Making Sense’ consultation and spoke from their own experience about the issues within CAMHS.
Earlier this year, Health Minister Mark Drakeford said many referrals to CAMHS turn out not to need the service: “The majority of children and young people’s emotional needs would be better met by talking through issues at the time with their families, school counsellors and youth workers.”
Hafal Trustee Mair Elliott, one of the young people who met Prof. Holland, said: “I am delighted that we’ve had the opportunity to speak to the Children’s Commissioner about what young people from across Wales have told us. Our consultation shows that CAMHS needs to change; CAMHS is a specialist service and it should support those with the highest needs.”
The High Needs Collaborative (Hafal, Mental Health Foundation, Bipolar UK and Diverse Cymru) have been working in partnership with Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People to give children and young people a voice in the development of future mental health services.
To find out more about Hafal’s work with young people, click here.