Monday 11 December 2017

Over 100 teens sent to adult psychiatric units last year

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

More than 100 teenagers suffering mental health problems ended up in adult psychiatric units last year, despite promises that the practice would end.

A report from the Mental Health Commission said despite more child units becoming available, admissions of children to adult units continued last year.

It said there were six child units in 2012, compared to three in 2008, and this "has contributed to a decline in the number of admissions of children to adult units."

However, some 106 child admissions were made last year to adult units, or a quarter of all child admissions, the report pointed out.

It comes as the mental health inspector Dr Patrick Devitt warned that mental health services were stagnant and perhaps "have slipped backwards."

Serious concern was expressed about the effects the moratorium on recruitment in the HSE is having on mental health teams, to the detriment of patients.

The report expressed dismay at a range of deficiencies in services which came to light during the year .These included the lack of individual care plans for many patients.

Chairman John Saunders said that while €35m was provided to fill 414 posts to strengthen community mental health services in 2012, the Commission was disappointed that under a third of these had been filled by the end of the year.

DANGER

"We understand that most of the 2012 posts have been filled now, but this means we are still far behind on recruiting the 2013 posts, for which financial allocation has been made.

"But there is a real danger that standards of care will fall unless these posts are filled promptly," he added.

The report also pointed to a serious deficiency in the development and provision of "recovery-oriented" mental health services, rather than simply managing a patient's illness.

Irish Independent

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