February 6, 2009

Child placements in adult psychiatric facilities to cease?

June Shannon


The Minister with responsibility for Mental Health has made a public commitment to cease the inappropriate practice of admitting children and adolescents to adult psychiatric facilities by the end of next year.

Responding to a question from Irish Medical Times at a press briefing to mark the third anniversary of A Vision for Change last Monday, January 26, the Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health, John Moloney TD, said that a number of developments in the provision of additional beds for children and adolescents ‘brings to an end the inappropriate placements’.

When pushed for a date on which this practice would cease, the Minister said that this would occur ‘towards the end of 2010’.

A recent report in Irish Medical Times revealed that more children were admitted to adult psychiatric units in the first ten months of 2008 than in the full 12 months of 2007.

The data from the Mental Health Commission revealed that a total of 196 children (under 18) were admitted to approved adult centres from January to October 2008.
The Minster also admitted that the way forward would be the appointment of a Director of Mental Health.

Speaking to IMT, John Saunders, Chair of the Irish Mental Health Coalition, which published a report recently on the ‘painfully slow’ reform of mental health services, said that the Minister confirmed that the implementation of A Vision for Change was very late and behind schedule.