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Number of children treated for acute mental health issues soars

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THE number of children treated for acute mental-health issues on Robin Ward has more than quadrupled in the past three years, latest figures show.

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Last year, 23 patients who were discharged from the ward were supported by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, according to a recently published freedom of information response.

In comparison, fewer than five patients were discharged into CAMHS’s care in 2017, while five children were released in both 2016 and 2015.

However, the number of children with acute mental-health conditions on Robin Ward last year did not reach the level of 2014, when 27 patients were discharged under CAMHS. According to the response, there are ten beds within Robin Ward and all are available for children with acute mental-health problems ‘as appropriate’.

The response says that between 2014 and 2018 fewer than five patients aged under 16 have been admitted to Orchard House – a facility where Islanders are treated for conditions including depression, psychosis and anxiety.

Where numbers are fewer than five, the actual figure is suppressed by the freedom of information department to prevent the identity of individuals. The age of the youngest patient treated at Orchard House was also not disclosed for the same reason.

The response says: ‘It is rare that Children and Adult Mental Health Services patients under 16 years old will be admitted to Orchard House.

‘A decision for a 16-year-old to be admitted to Orchard House would be based on their level of need exceeding what can be safely managed on Robin Ward and where Orchard House is considered to be the more appropriate setting for treatment, or where there are no appropriate beds available on Robin Ward.

‘Off-Island placements are considered in these incidences.’

A Health spokeswoman said: ‘Figures of patients accessing health services in the Island can fluctuate greatly for a number of reasons. As we can see from the FoI results, figures in 2014 for patients discharged from Robin Ward under CAMHS was greater than any years previous.

‘The increase in 2018 could therefore reflect a multitude of factors. To establish changing needs, we actively review the services we provide and continue to develop as these needs of the public change.’

Krysta Eaves

By Krysta Eaves
author

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