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Tenth of teenagers suffering from mental health disorder, says HSE

CHILD and psychiatric services are facing a growing demand for specialist care for young people, one in 10 of whom suffers from a mental health disorder.

Children aged 15 years are the most likely to be attending community HSE mental health services for young people.

They are followed by the 16- to 17-year-old age group and children aged between 10 and 14. Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays are at the worst days for children and adolescents self-harming.

And the number of young people seeking help for self-harm is lowest on Saturdays, according to the annual report of the HSE's child and adolescent mental health services .

More than 270 children and adolescents with mental health difficulties are waiting for over a year to see a psychiatrist.

They were among 2,056 children on waiting lists at the end of September, a rise of 159 compared to the same period last year.

"In children aged 10 to 17 years the number of deliberate self-harm presentations to hospital involving overdose in 2011 (688) showed a slight decrease compared to the numbers recorded in 2010 (759)."

Cutting was the only other common method of self-harm and it was involved in one-third of cases.

In 6pc of cases involving children aged 10-17 years of age, the child left the A&E before a follow-up appointment could be arranged.

The report said there were 432 children and adolescents admitted to hospitals for different forms of mental illness in 2011. Depressive disorders accounted for 35pc of all admissions, followed by neuroses, schizophrenia and delusional disorders.

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One in 10 of the young people had an eating disorder, while 6pc had a behavioural or emotional disorder of childhood and adolescence.

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