Public to have their say on children and young people's mental health

PEOPLE who use Devon s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are being asked to give feedback, as a consultation on the service gets underway as part of Devon County Council s Scrutiny Review.

PEOPLE who use Devon's Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are being asked to give their feedback, as a consultation on the service gets underway as part of Devon County Council's Scrutiny Review.

The review, carried out by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee CAMHS Task Group, will examine the current management and structure of the service, establish whether young people and their families' needs are being met, and look at any gaps in the service provision. It will also look at how the transition from children's to adults' mental health services is handled.

Nationally, 10% of 5-16 year-olds have a mental disorder which causes them "considerable distress and substantial interference with personal functions." Most of these disorders are emotional, conduct or hyperkinetic disorders, although 1% have less common conditions such as autistic spectrum or eating disorders.

Mental health disorders are more common in older than younger children, and more boys than girls suffer them. Many of these conditions will continue into adult life.

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The Task Group is inviting service users, parents and carers, practitioners and school staff who work with mental health services to share their experiences of CAMHS.

Councillor Vanessa Newcombe, Chairman of the Task Group, said: "We are asking for people's views - good or bad - of the service. These will enable us to identify gaps in provision and establish whether there is equality across the whole of the County, in terms of mental health provision.

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"This is an opportunity for people to tell us what they think of the service they have experienced, and enable us to identify how the service could be improved.

"Public consultation is a vital part of this process, and any responses from service users will feed into the recommendations made in our report to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, and ultimately the Council's Executive."

Devon County Councillor John Smith, Executive Member for Children and Young People's Services, said: "We are building a very strong partnership with all our partners that provide services for children in Devon, and it is vital that we are all working in a cohesive way to improve their lives.

"This consultation will help shape the final recommendations that will be considered by the Executive in due course, so it is important that everyone who uses the service takes this opportunity to have their say."

Anyone who would like to give feedback on their experiences with Devon's CAMHS can e-mail their response to Anna Matthews on post their response to Scrutiny, CEX, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter EX2 4QD, or contact her for further information or an informal chat on 01392 382722.

All submissions should be received by March 31, 2009.

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