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Bodywhys response – Mental Health Commission’s report on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)


Response from Bodywhys to the Mental Health Commission’s (MHC) report on the provision of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

While Bodywhys welcomes the MHC’s report on the provision of CAMHS, there are serious concerns in its findings.

 The report outlines key issues related to eating disorders services and wider difficulties within CAMHS for young people and their families.

The report acknowledges positive progress in developing some eating disorder specialist teams as well as positive progress in online and face-to-face training of clinicians, including supervision and support.

However, there are serious concerns, for example

  • Unacceptable variation in access to, or gaps in, care and services
  • Difficulties with staffing, lack of resources in teams
  • Delays with the National Children’s Hospital, including eating disorder beds
  • 80% of young people identified the Covid-19 pandemic as a contributory factor in their eating disorder
  • Significant distress and frustration for parents due to uncertainty about accessing CAMHS
  • Children deteriorating whilst waiting for an assessment.

Recent figures from the Health Research Board (HRB) showed increased hospitalisations for eating disorders between 2018-2022. Eating disorders are serious and complex mental illnesses, with increased risk of mortality. People with eating disorders often must rebuild their lives, and they need a range of supports, including professional healthcare, to do this. 

It is deeply troubling that assurances cannot be given that all children and adolescents will have access to safe, and effective evidence-based services. Bodywhys agrees wholeheartedly with the Inspector’s report that CAMHS teams must be fully developed and adequately staffed. We also agree that, in line with objectives the National Clinical Programme for Eating Disorders (NCPED), all Community Health Organisation (CHO) areas must have eating disorder teams to deliver expertise and comprehensive services across the country. This will ensure people affected by eating disorders can access treatment and recover. We further agree with the recommendation that all CAMHS receive training in Family Based Treatment (FBT).

The recommendations outlined by the Mental Health Commission must now be urgently addressed.