Shocking Treatment of Child Mental Health Patients
A shocking new report in the news this week has indicated that the mental wellness and wellbeing of child patients is being put at extreme risk due to lack of appropriate facilities. The report shows that an ever-increasing number of children under the age of 18 who are suffering from mental health problems are being sent for treatment in adult psychiatric wards.
For this to take place, many children are having to travel away from family and friends to units hundreds of miles across the country.
This problem has been highlighted before, and the Department of Health had previously promised that the practice would be stopped by 2010. It is well-known that young people should not be treated in adult psychiatric wards apart from in exceptional circumstances.
It is shocking, then, to find that the report this week states that the number of children under the age of 18 who are currently being treated in adult units runs into hundreds, and that the number is actually on the increase.
So far in the 2013 – 2014 period, data shows that 350 under 18s have been admitted to adult mental health wards. This compares starkly with 242 – the number of children who were treated in adult facilities just two years previously.
Narrowing down the group to under 16s, it was found that 12 children of this age were admitted to adult psychiatric wards in the past year, as opposed to just three in this age group a couple of years ago.
The health authorities contacted for the study also confirmed that children are being sent a long way for treatment. The data confirmed that 10 children were sent over 150 miles away to receive care. The furthest distance that a child was sent was from Sussex to Greater Manchester, a distance of 275 miles, as there were no beds available in facilities closer to home.
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