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10 per cent increase in new child and adolescent mental health cases

That is according to the fourth annual report of the HSE’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

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THERE HAS BEEN a 10 per cent increase in new cases seen by the HSE’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

That is according to the fourth annual report into CAMHS, which was released today. Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Equality and Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch, TD launched the report. She said that she was “particularly pleased to note progress in a number of key areas”.

The Minister said that 150 new posts are being allocated to CAMHS teams.

The report shows that there was an increase of 10 per cent in new cases seen between October 2011 and September 2012, 8,671 new cases compared with 7,849. In the same period, there were 9,973 referrals accepted by CAMHS teams, a 17 per cent increase.

Of the new cases seen, 967 (11.2 per cent) were 16/17 years of age. Over this period 45 per cent of new cases were seen within one month of referral, 66 per cent within three months. Ten per cent of new cases had waited between three and six months, seven per cent had waited between six and 12 months and 5 per cent had waited more than one year to be seen.

Twelve per cent did not attend their first appointment.

Waiting Lists

There was an increase of 159 (8 per cent) from the total number waiting at the end of September 2011 (1,897) to 2,056 children and adolescents waiting to be seen at the end of September 2012.

The total number waiting greater than 12 months decreased by 9 per cent, from 300 to 272.

Forty-four (76 per cent) community CAMHS teams had a waiting list of less than 50 cases, 10 (17 per cent) had a waiting list of 50 to 99 cases, two (5 per cent) had a waiting list of 100 to 149 cases and 1 (2 per cent) had a waiting list of 150 to 200 cases.

Cases

The data showed that children aged 15 years were the most likely to be attending community CAMHS, followed by the 16/17 year old age group and children in the 10 to 14 age group.

The ADHD / hyperkinetic category (35.7 per cent) again was the most frequently assigned primary presentation, followed by the anxiety category (18.7 per cent). The ADHD / hyperkinetic category peaked in the four to nine years age group at 43.8 per cent of cases.

Depressive disorders increased with age, accounting for 21.6 per cent of the 15 years and older age group, while deliberate self harm accounted for 7 per cent of the primary presentations of the 15 years and older age group.

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Deliberate self harm / suicidal ideation was recorded as a reason for referral in 28 per cent of the new cases seen.

Eating disorders accounted for 5.6 per cent of the primary presentations of the 15 years and older age group.

Admissions

In 2008, 65 per cent of child and adolescent admissions were to adult units – there has been a reduction in these numbers as of September 2012 to 25 per cent.

The report also notes a planning application has been submitted for a new 24 bed in-patient unit at Cherry Orchard Hospital.

Dr Brendan Doody, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and HSE National CAMHS Advisor commented:

Despite increasing demands for CAMHS services, the teams are working hard to improve service access and provide positive outcomes. Their commitment has been demonstrated with 10 per cent increase in the number of new clients seen.”

Read: Young people mainly visit their GP for mental health issues>

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