Sir – The article “Children’s hospitals seeing astronomical numbers of young self-harm” (News, 2 Jan) citing Prof. Mary Cannon and Dr. Michele Hill is timely and welcome. increase.
As a group of pediatric liaison psychiatrists working within Children’s Health Ireland, we have seen an exponential increase in children and adolescents presenting with psychiatric crisis and illness over the past two decades.
Referrals to Irish Community Child and Youth Mental Health Services (Camhs) increased by 26% before the pandemic, and referrals to hospital for self-harm nationally increased by 22% between 2007 and 2016. increased, most notably in 10-year-olds. Up to 14 years old. Analyzing presentations and published in the Irish Medical Journal in 2017 in his one emergency department, he found that the incidence of self-harm and suicidal crises rose from 69 in 2006 to 430 in 2017. , increased by 526%. This increase continues, with up to a 10-fold increase in presentations during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. This is confirmed by major international studies of the severe impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the youngest citizens.
These charges have been consistent since the lockdown ended. We’re also seeing a worrying rise in eating disorders. With insufficient hospital beds in Camhs to meet the needs of this ‘silent plague’, more and more children and adolescents are admitted to the pediatrics ward. The increase in these emergency and critical conditions has not been met by Camhs or his HSE investment in acute hospital pediatric liaison services. Planning for such urgent psychiatric care is excluded from relevant mental health policies and planning documents, and these figures are not included in HSE reports, thus hiding this highly vulnerable group. , is considered to be ignored.
Professor Cannon and Dr. Hill rightly underscore the need for increased resources within child and adolescent mental health services to ensure the ability to respond safely and effectively to emergency presentations. There is also an urgent need to develop out-of-hours services for all young people to facilitate proper assessment, appropriate treatment and treatment in the most appropriate settings. In the current regime, the very busy Emergency Department (ED) is not the best environment for most such presentations, unless there is an acute medical need requiring a combination of medical and psychiatric care. Only when dedicated mental health funding is provided can EDs provide immediate access and form part of a broader “out of hours” emergency response. In addition, many centers do not have adequate access to these specialized psychiatric services, which provide essential psychiatric care for children and young people with mental illness, so there is a national pediatric psychiatric liaison. I need to develop a service. Difficulties and illnesses are certainly higher than in the general population. These services are inevitably curtailed due to the growing need for urgent psychiatric provision.
While the prevalence of mental illness among older adolescents is increasing, there is a need to develop services to facilitate the transition and appropriate care for young people, while children from infancy to early childhood and young There is also an urgent need to address the psychiatric needs of adolescents. to adolescence. We know from research that appropriate early detection and treatment at any age protects future mental health. Research is needed on preventive and early interventions that can mitigate impacts.As the article suggests, this requires a government crisis wake-up call and a real commitment to funding mental health.
Dr. AOIFE TWOHIG,
Dr. Elizabeth Barrett,
Professor Fiona McNicholas
Dr. Kieran Moore,
Dr. Martin O’Sullivan
children’s health ireland
on Temple Street,