December 12, 2008

196 children admitted to adult psychiatric wards in first ten months

June Shannon

More children were admitted to adult psychiatric units in the first ten months of this year than were admitted in the full 12 months of 2007, according to the latest data from the Mental Health Commission (MHC).

The data revealed that a total of 196 children (under 18) were admitted to approved adult centres from January to October ‘08. This is three more admissions than the total figure of 193 recorded for January to December ‘07.

According to the provisional data the 2008 figures peaked in October at 25 – 18 of whom were female and seven were male — while the lowest number of children admitted was recorded in June at 13 (10 girls and three boys). There were more girls (112) than boys (84) admitted to adult centres in 2008, with the vast majority of all child admissions being between 16 and 17 years of age.

The data, which are based on notifications to the MHC by approved centres as of 5 December ‘08, also recorded the number of children admitted to approved child units. According to these figures, 118 children were admitted to specially dedicated child psychiatric units in the first ten months of 2008. Of these, the highest number was 15 admissions, recorded in April.

The MHC noted that the admission figures related to the number of admissions, not the number of children, as in some cases the same child may have been admitted on more than one occasion.