The Irish Association of Speech & Language Therapists, the recognised professional body representing Speech and Language Therapists in Ireland, welcomes the Mental Health Commission’s confirmation that the Inspector of Mental Health Services will conduct an independent review of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) nationally.

Speech and Language disorders often overlap with social, emotional and behavioural challenges in childhood. Many referrals to CAMHS have unidentified communication difficulties.  Speech and Language Therapists help people with communication challenges to function and cope better in everyday activities, including school.  IASLT members advocate for client-centred and recovery oriented services.  In CAMHS, Speech & Language Therapists help young people to understand others, express ideas and talk about feelings.  Speech and Language Therapists co-design and co-facilitate individualised treatment plans, including talk therapies, in order to improve participation and independence.  The IASLT therefore welcomes inclusion of the young person’s voice in the proposed review.

Language is involved in every aspect of mental health assessment and treatment.  Research has evidenced an association between a young person’s communicative competence and their mental health.  IASLTs supports the delivery and audit of high quality, accessible and safe multidisciplinary person-centred care.  IASLT advocates for young people and carers to be actively involved in the care planning process.  Timely access to Speech and Language therapy is urgently needed.

IASLT advocates for further opportunities for its members to engage in specialist training.  IASLT supports the development of additional clinical specialist roles within CAMHS to further evidence-base practice, research activity and specialist education in this field.