Eighty-four minors received in-patient psychiatric hospital care last year

Seventeen children, aged between 13 and 14, were resident in Irish psychiatric hospitals, for a range of mental health disorders, last year, census figures show.

Eighty-four minors received in-patient psychiatric hospital care last year

Eighty-four under-18s received psychiatric in- patient care for conditions such as depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and neuroses.

The majority of young patients were aged 16 or under, with 17 patients aged between 13 and 14 years. Almost two-thirds of young in-patients were female.

Twenty-two under-18s had a primary diagnosis of a depressive disorder, while 14 patients had a diagnosis of an eating disorder.

Schizophrenia and neuroses were also among the conditions for which young people received treatment last year.

The figures, published by the Health Research Board, were collated from a national census of psychiatric hospitals and units around the country on March 31, 2016.

This census is undertaken every three years, and the previous two were held in 2013 and 2010.

The latest census shows that there were 2,480 resident in-patients in psychiatric units and hospitals on March 31, 2016. That’s seven more than in 2013. One-third (about 800) of patients had a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia; 422 patients had a depressive disorder; 300 had an organic mental disorder, and 124 patients had an intellectual disability.

Males accounted for more than half of all patients, while one-in-three were 65 years and over. 17% of in-patients (422) were involuntary admissions, compared to 13% in 2010 and 15%.

Meanwhile, one-third of patients were long-stay and had been in hospital continuously for one year or more.

The Health Research Board also outlined details of censuses taken over the last 50 years. The data shows an 88% drop in in-patient numbers since 1963 and a 62% drop in involuntary hospitalisations since 1971. The board said that the increased figure of 84 child and teenage residents last year, compared to the 43 in 2010 and 64 in 2013, was “largely a reflection of increased capacity in child and adolescent in-patient services”.

Health Research Board chief Dr Graham Love said: “These data are crucial to increase our understanding of service demand in this area and to inform decisions about service planning.”

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