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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

A third of children admitted to psychiatric units in 2018 had depression

Depressive disorders were the most common diagnoses recorded for all admissions, accounting for 24%.

Image: Shutterstock/fizkes

THERE WERE AROUND 17,000 admissions to Irish psychiatric hospitals and units in 2018, a slight increase of 257 from 2017.

The proportion of involuntary admissions remained virtually unchanged from 2017, at 13% of all and 14% of first admissions.

This is according to the latest figures from the Health Research Board (HRB), which cited depression, schizophrenia, mania, neurosis and alcoholic disorders as representing over two-thirds of all admissions.

Despite the slight increase in admissions, there has been an overall decline in admissions since 2009, when there was 20,195 admissions. The mean age at admission was 45 years, with a median age of 43 years.

The CEO of the HRB Dr Darrin Morrissey said: “Behind these figures are real people who are experiencing serious mental ill health. The benefit of HRB information systems is that they record data over time, so we can track trends and see them develop. This is useful to inform policy and plan services in line with people’s needs.” 

Research Officer at the HRB Antoinette Daly said that the number of children admitted to psychiatric hospitals had dramatically decreased. There were 441 admissions of those aged under 18 in 2017, and 408 in 2018, with 16% of these admissions aged 14 years or younger.

The average length of stay for all under 18s in 2018 was 43.3 days (median 33 days).

“More than three quarters of these young people were admitted for the first time in 2018, and 84 were admitted to adult units. Sixty-three per cent were female and depression accounted for almost one-in-three of admissions of those under 18 years.”

The 20-24 year age group had the highest rate of all admissions, at 608.8 per 100,000 and first admissions, at 291.3 per 100,000.

Depressive disorders were the most common diagnoses recorded for all and first admissions, accounting for 24% of all and 26% of first admissions.

Schizophrenia accounted for 20% of all and 14% of first admissions. Alcoholic disorders accounted for 6% of all and 6% of first admissions.

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