Community child and adolescent mental health teams are the first line of specialist mental health services for children and young people (under 18), who are directly referred to Community CAMHS Teams from various sources. These include General Practitioners, Child Health Services, A&E Departments, Learning Disability Services, Adult Mental Health Services, or Primary Care services. In addition, direct referrals from educational services are also accepted but may sometimes require support from a General Practitioner.
All community-based CAMHS Teams screen referrals received. Those deemed to be urgent are seen as a priority, while those considered as routine are placed on a waiting list. During the period 1 October 2011 to 30 September 2012, a total of 9,973 referrals were accepted, which is an increase of 17% on the previous 12 months. A total of 8,671 new cases - or an increase of around 10% - was seen by community CAMHS Teams in the period October 2011 to September 2012, compared to 7,849 for the previous 12 months.
Of the 8,671 new cases seen, 967 (11.2%) were 16-17 years of age. Around 45% of new cases were seen within 1 month of referral, and some 66% within 3 months. Available statistics indicate that 10% of new cases waited between 3 and 6 months, 7% waited between 6 and 12 months, and 5% waited more than 1 year to be seen. About 12% did not attend their first appointment.
In-patient psychiatric treatment is usually indicated for children and adolescents with severe psychiatric disorders such as Schizophrenia, Depression, and Mania. Other presentations include severe complex medical-psychiatric disorders such as Anorexia/Bulimia. Admission may also be required for clarification of diagnosis and appropriate treatment, or for the commencement and monitoring of medication. An increasing incidence of the more severe mental health disorders in later adolescence may also generate more in-patient admissions.
In 2011, the opening of two new units at Bessboro, Cork and Merlin Park, Galway increased the total number of beds available to 44, further increasing to 52 when the Bessboro Unit is fully commissioned this year. Various other capital initiatives now underway are scheduled to bring the total number nationally to 76 bed places towards the end of 2014.
It is planned that the new National Paediatric Hospital will have a total of 20 In-patient beds, divided between Generic and specialist Eating Disorder beds, in line with recommendations contained in A Vision for Change. Plans for a secure Forensic 10 bed unit, also in line with A Vision for Change, and on the site of the new National Forensic Hospital at St. Ita’s, Portrane are at early planning stages and encompassed in the HSE Capital programme.
More detailed information on the type of issues raised by the Deputy is reflected in the HSE Service Plan, or is otherwise available direct from the Executive for national, regional or local data, including activity or performance indicators regularly updated in the public domain.