'Still Waiting' - mental health services

Niccy Cover

Start360 staff and service users took part in research which is being launched today in Belfast. The research, carried out by NICCY, examines children and young people’s experiences of mental health supports in Northern Ireland and makes a number of recommendations – you can find the full report as well as an ‘easy read’ version at

If you are reading this and looking for sources of help for yourself, or a friend or relative, you can find details of all our services, including Protect Life and DAISY, at

Start360 – and Mencap – worked with our service users to make sure their voices were heard in the research – our particular focus for this report was on the mental health needs of young people who are also using drugs and/or alcohol. However, we provide a number of health-related services across Northern Ireland and mental health cuts across all of these.

Stacey*, who is 18 and from North Belfast, says,

‘I went to the GP aged 12 and was offered help but I didn’t take it because I didn’t think I was sick. Aged 14 I went back to the GP and was referred to CAMHS as an urgent appointment. I didn’t have a say. I was in a room with an old man with a big book asking me personal things and having to tell my whole story again. I didn’t know what was going on – it was so confusing. I have not been contacted by anyone since I turned 18. I have been sitting waiting for adult services and I am still waiting.’

Launching ‘Still Waiting’, her Review of children’s and young people’s mental health services and support in Northern Ireland, Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, said ‘We are delivering yesterday’s services for today’s children.

‘The system is under pressure and must reform urgently to respond to the scale of need and complexity of issues our children and young people have, to support their families and to allow the professionals working within the system to care for our children effectively.’

*not her real name, to protect confidentiality.