Southern Trust to offer mental health service for children with intellectual disability

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Monday, October 24th, 2016
The Southern Health and Social Care Trust is the first in Northern Ireland to offer a fully comprehensive Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) that is fully inclusive of Children and Adolescents who have an Intellectual Disability. camhs-0942One in forty children and young people have an intellectual disability, which means they have difficulty understanding information and learning the skills needed for everyday life. Dr Heather Hanna, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in Intellectual Disability for the Southern Trust explained, “Children with an intellectual disability are four times more likely to develop a significant mental health, emotional or behavioural problem than the average child. “However, until now there has been a lack of specialist services to help them overcome these challenges to allow them to flourish. “We want children with an intellectual disability to have the same access to specialist therapeutic intervention when they experience mental health, emotional or behavioural difficulties, as every other young person. “So, in response to national recommendations, we have broadened our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service to ensure we can now meet the needs of children and young people with Intellectual Disability.” The new Intellectual Disability (ID CAMHS) team is made up of a number of professionals – a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who is Clinical Lead for the service, an Advanced Practitioner/Manager, ID CAMHS Practitioners, Senior Practitioners and Assistant Practitioners who have different areas of clinical expertise.
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october-2016The team is playing a leading role regionally in establishing support networks for practitioners interested in delivering the best possible services for children and young people and for the first time have brought a highly regarded Intellectual Disabilities Conference to Ireland. This national event happens annually and is a joint initiative between the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health and the Child and Adolescent Intellectual Disability Psychiatry Network. The Conference – Mind the gap: Journeying towards comprehensive CAMHS for children and young people with Intellectual Disability, takes place on Friday 21st October in Dublin, to find out more log on to For more information on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in the Southern Trust go to
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