April 14, 2009

Teen services get a boost at St Patrick's

St Patrick’s University Hospital has announced that its first dedicated inpatient unit for adolescents will open later this year.

Services for adolescents with mental health problems will also be boosted with the opening this month of a new, community-based Adolescent Services Centre.

Aimed primarily at those aged 15 to 17, the adolescent service will offer programmes addressing mood, psychosis, anxiety and eating disorders — as well as treatment for drug and alcohol dependence.

The inpatient unit, currently under construction, will be led by Dr Sarah Buckley, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist. “Adolescence is a time of increased risk of poor mental health with anxiety, depression, psychosis, eating disorders and substance misuse becoming more prevalent, as well as an increasing risk of deliberate self-harm and suicidal behaviour,” she commented.

“If mental illness is left untreated, this will impede an adolescent from developing physically, psychologically and socially to reach their full potential. The aim of the community-based Adolescent Services Centre is to facilitate early identification of emerging mental illness and provide early intervention and treatment of mental illness to reduce disruption to the young person’s family, school and social life,” added Dr Buckley.

The community service will be available through the Dean Clinic in Lucan, while the inpatient service will be based at St Patrick’s.

Minister for Health Mary Harney turned the sod on the new in-patient unit on Monday, March 30 and also launched the hospital’s new Support and Information Line for health professionals and the public.

The line will be staffed by experienced mental health nurses and the telephone number is (01) 249 3333.

“It is estimated that 20 per cent of teenagers are suffering some form of mental illness in Ireland at any one time, with 4 per cent to 6 per cent requiring some clinical intervention: 0.5 per cent is estimated to require inpatient services,” said St Patrick’s CEO, Paul Gilligan.

“The increase in teenage suicide, particularly among young men, highlights the need for early interventions and to provide confidential community supports that encourage young people to seek help at the earliest possible opportunity,” he added.

Posted in Hospital Medicine on 03 April 2009