The role of child and adolescent mental health services in suicide prevention in New Zealand

Australas Psychiatry. 2006 Dec;14(4):369-73. doi: 10.1080/j.1440-1665.2006.02306.x.


Objective: We consider the role of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in the prevention of suicide by young people in New Zealand by examining the conflicting demands placed on CAMHS as a result of public expectation, health-care policy and structures, the current focus in the health sector on risk assessment and the inability of CAMHS to see all the young people who may consider suicide in any given year.

Conclusions: We suggest that CAMHS are currently under significant pressures which are inadvertently leading to distortions of clinical practice away from the clinical needs of suicidal children, adolescents and their families towards risk assessment and risk management strategies. The inability of CAMHS to offer comprehensive services to all young people considering suicide may be addressed by greater provision of consult-liaison activities, better understanding between clinicians and health managers, and improvements in clinical skills.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Child
  • Child Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / prevention & control*
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data