Child and adolescent mental health services will receive a major boost following the release of a special report today by Health Minister Ian Taylor.
Mr Taylor welcomed the report of the Ministerial Task Force to Review Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services, which was established by his predecessor Keith Wilson.
"The findings of the report have been endorsed by the Government as part of its State Youth Strategy and will form the basis of significant and positive changes to mental health services for children and adolescents in Western Australia," the Minister said.
"It recommends a range of practical initiatives which are the key to future developments in this area. The recommendations include:
· increasing funding for child and adolescent mental health services to at least one per cent of the total health budget;
· redistributing child and adolescent mental health resources across the metropolitan regions on a population basis;
· giving priority to resourcing the special needs of at-risk children and adolescents;
· affirming the principles of self-determination for Aboriginal people in this as well as other health areas;
· establishing a joint committee between the Departments of Health and Community Development to look at services for youths with mental disorders in the juvenile justice system;
· ensuring an equitable amount of funds be spent on child and adolescent mental health in country areas.
"The Government has already implemented and funded two other key recommendations in the report," Mr Taylor said.
The first of three training posts to be added to the child and adolescent psychiatry program has been established as part of a $350,000 Social Advantage Package initiative to provide improved psychiatric services in the northern suburbs.
Also $160,000 has been committed to establish a professorial chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Western Australia.
Mr Taylor said he was also pleased to announce that Keith Wilson would play a major role in progressing the implementation of the report's recommendations.
"I am very keen to involve Mr Wilson, because of his strong commitment to improving mental health services and his interest in continuing to contribute to this area of health care," the Minister said.
"Mr Wilson would consult with the key non-Government groups to ensure maximum benefits were gained from the report's recommendations.
"With the assistance of bodies like the Royal College of Psychiatrists, regional paediatricians, consumer organisations and others, we can build on what we have achieved so far and ensure that the recommendations of this excellent report are implemented as well and as soon as possible."
Copies of the report are available from the Health Department (contact number 222 4141).