A group that provides support to children and their families affected by failings in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service in Kerry has again called for a meeting with Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

Kerry CAMHS Family Support Group said its requests for a meeting in the past have been rejected.

It said that the interim report of the Mental Health Commission on the CAMHS service nationwide contained no new information and nothing that the families of children in the CAMHS service in Kerry were not already aware of through their own experiences.

The group said the failings revealed in the nationwide Mental Health Commission report were also highlighted in the report published this time last year by Consultant Child Psychiatrist, Dr Sean Maskey, into the CAMHS service in South Kerry.

The group acknowledged that improvements have been made in the CAMHS service in South Kerry since the publication of the Maskey report.

But it said it was disturbed to read that issues in the service nationwide continue to go unreported.

"To see in black and white that staff stopped reporting issues as there was 'no point' and ‘nothing was done’ is devastating and incredibly traumatic to families who are crying out for help," the group said in a statement.

"This shows a disconnect and complete lack of accountability of middle management and higher throughout the HSE and, indeed, straight up to Government.

"Behind every 'lost' file, every ignored escalation and every escalation that never was is a vulnerable child or young adult, a family and a community who are also being ‘lost’. How can this be the norm for treatment of our most vulnerable?"

The group said it was not surprised when it heard that the HSE announced that there is to be a review of all active cases in the CAMHS service in North Kerry.

"Since the release of the Maskey report and subsequent correspondence with families, we have been well aware of the potential deficits in North Kerry," the group said in a statement.

"These mirror those in South Kerry, although there is potential for much higher numbers and more lives affected."

The group repeated its call for a meeting with Mr Donnelly. It said it has been offered meetings with Minister of State Mary Butler whenever it has requested meetings with Minister Donnelly in the past.

"On such an important matter that is now being highlighted by the UN as a human rights issue, there has to be a stop to the reactive nature of how the HSE and Government deal with this situation," the group said.

"Things need to be more proactive, there has to be accountability and there most definitely have to be changes.

"We respectfully call again for a meeting with the minister to discuss our experiences and to hear what the Government plan to do to fix this utter crisis that is our mental health system. These children are our future -- what potential has already been lost due to this?"

Minister Donnelly's office has been contacted for a response.

Read more
No consistency in CAMHS care, says Ombudsman for Children
'I lost out on a good eight years of my life'