Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has called on an end to the practice of admitting children to adult psychiatric hospitals after figures released by the Health Research Board(HRB) show there was also a 20% increase in the number of children admitted to psychiatric hospitals.
Teachta Ward said:
“We need to get rid of this draconian practice which sees some of our most vulnerable children with acute mental health needs admitted to adult psychiatric hospitals. It is a very frightening experience for any child to be admitted to a hospital for mental health reasons, but this is exasperated for those children who are placed into adult units.
“In 2019 there were 54 children admitted to adult units. A child or adolescent’s first introduction to mental health care should not be through a service that is not specifically equipped to deal with their needs.
“Children and young people who are placed in these facilities are already in an incredibly difficult place with their mental health and this is unacceptable.
“These admissions happen due to capacity issues and staffing deficits in the health service.These failures are the responsibility of the management of the health service at the very top.
“This practice needs to be overhauled and tackled with urgency and has no place in a 2020 health service.
“According to figures from the Health Research Board (HRB) we have seen an increase in the number of under 18-year-olds admitted to psychiatric units and hospitals in Ireland. Admissions have increased by 20% from 408 admissions in 2018 to 497 in 2019
“There are only six Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAHMS) in the country and only two of them take out-of-hours admissions. These services are already at full capacity
“For too long mental health services have not had the same parity of esteem as other sections of the health service. This Government needs to ring fence funding to provide comprehensive mental health services across the board.
“Time will tell if this Government is serious about tackling the crises in mental health, but these children do not have this time; they need appropriate treatment now.”