Prime Minister of Tasmania – Improving Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

September 8, 2021

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister of Mental Health and Welfare

The Government of Tasmania is implementing the recommendations of our Review of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), to ensure that young Tasmanians receive the best possible mental health care.

We have committed $ 41.2 million in the 2021-2022 Tasmanian budget to implement the recommendations, which have been categorized into three areas:

1. New organizational structure to drive and maintain meaningful change – a state-wide leadership and management structure comprising medical and administrative functions will be established as a priority.

2. Modification of existing functions (care models) – an overall review of the support model for all existing services as well as a critical review of establishments.

3. Address known service gaps – new programs to ensure improved access to specialized and age-appropriate services, including intensive support for children in home care, the forensic mental health service for young people, the service early intervention for young people, perinatal and early childhood mental health service, and eating disorder day treatment programs.

This investment also supports an increase in the capacity of the existing perinatal and child mental health service to provide coverage in the north and northwest of the state.

Very experienced professor Brett McDermott recently started in the new role of Specialized State-wide Clinical Director for CAMHS to lead our reforms.

Professor McDermott is currently pursuing a number of key priorities, including:

  • Examine the current workload and model of care of the Perinatal Mental Health Service;
  • Project planning for the care of children outside the home;
  • Project planning for youth service;
  • Work with job design to accelerate the creation of new positions; and
  • Work with the University of Tasmania to create a Center for Innovation in Mental Health Services.

The government has already implemented a number of recommendations from the CAMHS review, including hiring project officers to begin implementation of the Out-of-Home Child Service and Youth Mental Health Service.

Other consultations with services such as Perinatal, Child and Parenting Health, Indigenous Health and Pediatrics also took place, as recommended.

The position of statewide CAMHS group director has also been announced and a new child and adolescent psychiatrist has been recruited.

While much has already been done, there is still a long way to go and the Tasmanian government is committed to making this fundamental change in the delivery of mental health services to children and youth.

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