Children Need Mental Health Services
22 July 2010 at 2:29 pm
The Children’s Mental Health Coalition says infants and children are urgently in need of mental health services in Australia.
The Coalition has called for improved mental health services for children, launching a blueprint for infant and child mental health services in Australia called Our Children Our Future in the lead up to the Federal Election.
The Coalition is made up of six major Not for Profit organisations: The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, the Australian Psychological Society, NIFTeY (National Investment for the Early Years), the Australian Infant, Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health Association, the Australian Association of Infant Mental Health and the Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network.
United as the Children’s Mental Health Coalition, the organisations are recommending mental health services for children from early life and are urging the Australian government to increase mental health funding for children (0-12 years), invest in prevention and intervention early in life and establish Kids Life Centres.
Professor Louise Newman, Convenor of the Children’s Mental Health Coalition and President of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists says that on average, 20% of kids in modern societies have their lives harmed by mental health problems, while 9% of Australian children have long term mental health problems.
Prof Newman says less than 9% of mental health funding is spent on childhood mental illness, even though 0 to 14 year olds represent 19% of the population in Australia and 50% of mental illnesses start before the age of 14.
She says one of the weakest aspects of mental health funding is currently in infants and childhood.
She says mental health funding for children aged from 0 to 12 years needs to be increased to 15% of the mental health budget and mental health funding must reflect the burden of disease and be at least 12% of the health budget.
The Coalition is calling for the establishment of Kids Life Centres to provide targeted services to intervene early, especially in conduct and anxiety disorders, to provide diagnostic and treatment services, educational enrichment for children and to support and increase the capacity of parents and carers to meet the needs of their children.
A copy of Our Children, Our Future is available at: www.ranzcp.org