Early Intervention in Youth Mental Health SIG


Optimising effective service delivery and long-term outcomes in youth mental health in Ireland.


Implementation of this SIG was informed by three key issues: firstly, a gathering concern over the continuing lack of adolescent or youth mental health teams in Ireland particularly for the post-16 age group – currently only one intervention service is available which starts at age 18; secondly, recognition of the rapidly developing currency of early intervention as a realistic strategy for treatment and hence service provision; and thirdly, appreciation of the value of readily accessible, youth-friendly early intervention services in optimising engagement and treatment outcomes.

Principal Aims

  • affording a much needed resource and forum to bring clinicians together for mutual discussion, learning and sharing
  • strengthening expertise and enhance services and facilitate access to ‘expert’ advice, tips and best practice through linkage with services within the UK and internationally
  • increasing awareness of youth mental health, in particular evidence-based practice
  • providing an integrated network for professionals involved in the broad array of mental health services for young people
  • encouraging innovation
  • promoting access and accessibility of services
  • contributing to the ongoing debate about targeting resources for Early Intervention
  • achieving broader awareness of evidence based practice through the activities of the group – conferences, recommendations for services and occasional paper


The SIG has hosted a regular programme of valuable opportunities, initiatives and resources:

  • variety of presentations, including a ‘Hypothetical’ which drew on an Australian concept to stimulate debate and discussion
  • three conferences, promoting political and health developments, early mental health research projects and international practice and policies
  • seminar on e-mental health, which generated very significant interest from a broad array of individuals and organisations
  • forum of over 20 visiting UK professionals to discuss how best to promote and develop the Youth Mental Health model. This led to the hosting of an International Conference on Youth Mental Health in June 2010 attended by delegates from Ireland, UK, Germany, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, contributed to the drafting of an International Declaration on Youth Mental Health and, in 2011, to the development of a Vision Statement on Youth Mental Health


The current success of the SIG is due to a number of significant strengths:

  • sheer breadth of its multidisciplinary mix and the variety of different agencies and services represented, which has yielded an enormous repertoire of perspectives and ideas
  • active and inspirational involvement of key national supporters and international youth mental health leader, Professor Patrick McGorry, University of Melbourne
  • great interest, passion and commitment of those working at the local level to engage with others and inform service development
  • generosity of professionals in giving their time and sharing their insights, expertise and knowledge

If you wish to know more about this expanding group please email info@acamh.org