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Dunne, Mary (2012) ACAMH youth mental health conference. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 40, Winter 2011 , pp. 31-32.

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The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH) special interest group, Youth Mental Health, held its first national research conference, Emerging evidence on youth mental health: multi-disciplinary perspectives, on 14 October 2011.  

The morning session focused on the rights of the child, with a talk by Emily Logan, Ombudsman for Children, and the launch of the International Declaration on Youth Mental Health, which sets out a range of measurable targets to be achieved over a 10-year period.1
Research on recognising mental health problems and on working towards solutions was then presented.  A number of speakers quoted from Kessler and colleagues,2 whose study found that half of all cases of mental illness start by age 14 years and three quarters by age 24 years. This key message underlined the importance of understanding and tackling mental health issues among young people.
The final session of the day centred on substance use among young people. Dr Bobby Smyth outlined a descriptive study of adolescents assessed at the Drug Treatment Centre Board.3  He highlighted the multiple and complex needs of teenagers who abused opiates, and concluded that services will require a broad range of interventions and effective interagency co-operation in order to meet these needs. Details of a recently published study on the outcomes for heroin-dependent adolescents were also provided.4  Professor Walter Cullen closed this session with a presentation about the role of community-based practice for mental and substance use disorders.5
The following services presented information about their work at the conference:
·         Jigsaw: a network of projects working with communities to better support young people's mental health
·         Working Things Out: a therapeutic resource for adolescents dealing mental health problems.
·         Inspire Ireland: which manages, an online service to help young people aged 16–25 get through tough times.
1.Buckley S, Canon M, Chambers D, Coughlan H, Duffy M, Gavin B et al. (2011) International Declaration on Youth Mental Health. Dublin: Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.  
2.Kessler RC, Berglund P, Dernler O, Jin R, Merikangas KR and Walters EE (2005) Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6): 593–602. 
3.Fagan J, Naughton L and Smyth BP (2008) Opiate-dependent adolescents in Ireland: a descriptive study at treatment entry. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 25(2): 46–51.
4.Smyth BP, Fagan J and Kernan K (2012) Outcome of heroin-dependent adolescents presenting for opiate substitution treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 42(1):35–44.
5.Cullen W, Broderick N, Connolly D and Meagher D (2011) What is the role of general practice in addressing youth mental health? A discussion paper. Irish Journal of Medical Science, Early online.

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