WA children failed by mental health system - Report

Greens spokesperson for Mental Health Hon Alison Xamon MLC has today called for urgent action to address failings in the WA Mental Health System identified by the Mental Health Advocacy Service in its 2016-2017 Annual Report.     

The Report, tabled in Parliament today, identifies a range of alarming issues with treatment received by children in the WA mental health system.

“Seriously unwell 16 and 17 year olds are particularly vulnerable and should not have to wait days in emergency departments for a bed, or be inappropriately admitted to adult mental health wards,” said Ms Xamon.

“Adult mental health wards are simply not suitable places for children; staff there are not trained to care for children, and children placed in adult wards have no direct access to child and adolescent psychiatrists.”

The Advocacy Service also raised concerns about the care received by children suffering from eating disorders, including the use of restraints, staffing issues, and treatment, support and discharge plans.

“It is crucial high quality care and support is provided to children suffering from serious mental health issues”, said Ms Xamon.

“The concerns raised by the Mental Health Advocacy Service, including the lack of coordination and continuity in access to mental health services experienced by Western Australian children, need to be addressed by the McGowan Government as a priority.”

The report also detailed a number of other critical concerns including lack of compliance with the new Mental Health Act, people being kept under involuntary orders due to lack of suitable accommodation, and safety concerns.

“There are clearly some very serious issues that continue within our mental health system and I am calling on the Minister to ensure priority is given to urgently addressing these matters,” Ms Xamon said.