The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Care Service (Camhs) is a vital tool in the armoury of the Department of Health, but due to apparent lack of oversight and staffing shortages, it is threatening to wither on the vine.
With the department admitting it will close 11 of 23 beds in a Camhs facility in Dublin because of a nursing crisis, confidence in the service to continue its work with children and adolescences is waning fast.
This announcement, combined with revelations earlier this year about the treatment of young and vulnerable patients in Kerry, has further eroded the confidence of the public — and parents in particular — that young people in dire need of effective care are not getting it.
The closure of the beds in the Linn Dara unit in West Dublin because of a shortage of psychiatric care nurses has led to a worrying fall in the level of services available at a time when Camhs services nationally are under rising pressure.
It seems incomprehensible that very necessary and vital services for susceptible children are being cut back at a time when the need for them is growing daily. That it will lead to children being inappropriately admitted to adult mental health units is not acceptable.
So too is the fact that Camhs is operating at just over 50% of capacity when the waiting lists for its services is growing exponentially. Resources need to be applied to this service as a matter of urgency.