New figures provided to Fianna Fáil’s Mental Health Spokesperson James Browne TD have shown a significant increase in the number of children being admitted to adult mental health units
During 2017, 81 children were admitted to adult units, up from 68 during 2016.
Deputy Browne said, “This is simply unacceptable and is not only wrong, it is contrary to state policy. In total, these 81 vulnerable young people spent some 633 bed days in adult units. Information which I have received shows that at least 1 child was admitted to an adult mental health unit for over 6 weeks.
“It is especially disappointing as there had been progress in previous years and to see it halted and reversed is an indictment of how we are treating children with mental health issues. I’m also concerned by the fact that the Department of Health does not keep a track of the number of times a child is re-admitted to the same adult mental health unit.
“The ‘Vision for Change’ mental health strategy made clear that Ireland needs at least 100 beds for child and adolescent patients in order to meet demand. However the closure of a number of beds during last year meant that at one stage just 52 beds were available for child and adolescent patients.
“It’s not good enough that in year twelve of what was meant to be a ten year plan we are still so far behind schedule.”