Children’s mental health review to drive future focus

  • New taskforce to be established to drive a children’s and adolescent services system for the future
  • Chief Psychiatrist review into the case of Ms Kate Savage delivered and released 
  • The State Government will be focusing on improving mental health outcomes for children as a priority over the next year.

    It follows the release of the progress update on the Our Children Can’t Wait report by the Commissioner for Children and Young People earlier this year and today’s release of the Chief Psychiatrist review into the case of Ms Kate Savage.

    Mental Health Minister Roger Cook requested the Chief Psychiatrist Nathan Gibson undertake an independent review into the treatment and care of Ms Savage.

    The Minister has acted immediately on one of the report’s key recommendations.

    He has established a taskforce with an independent chairperson, Robyn Kruk AO, to collaboratively engage with families, children and staff from the Perth metropolitan and regional public child and adolescent mental health services.

    The taskforce will outline a comprehensive plan for a contemporary, world-class child and adolescent service operating model, incorporating best practice nationally and internationally.

    Demand in the Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services has risen 50 per cent between 2015 and 2019, reflecting a nationwide increase in demand for mental health services.

    About half of mental health issues start by 14 years of age. Nationally, 7.6 per cent of young people aged 12 to 17 were dispensed mental health-related medication in 2018-19.

    Kate and her family had accessed various mental health services since 2015, including a GP, private psychologist, Perth Children’s Hospital and the community mental health services, before her death earlier this year.

    The Government will immediately:

    • enhance the recently established CAMHS Emergency Telehealth Service and boost the capacity for mental health assessment and support within the Perth Children’s Hospital emergency department.
    • implement a model for peer workers to support families accessing the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
    • undertake planning of community intensive treatment services for children and adolescents, in conjunction with the work of the taskforce review. 

    The Government will soon launch a new evidence-based parenting campaign to support parents and carers with the mental health and wellbeing of their children.

    To talk to someone call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, for free counselling call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or to find local mental health services, visit 

    The CAMHS Emergency Telehealth Service (ETS) on 1800

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