Home > Adolescents presenting with mental health crises.

Gadancheva, V and Barry, Helen and McNicholas, F (2019) Adolescents presenting with mental health crises. Irish Medical Journal, 112, (10), p. 1020.

External website: http://imj.ie/adolescents-presenting-with-mental-h...

Aims: The aim of the study is to examine emergency mental health (MH) presentations and assessments of adolescents (16-18) presenting to a Dublin adult emergency department (ED). 

Methods: Clinical data was collected on all patients over a 12 month period. 

Results: Seventy seven adolescents presented, the majority out of hours (n=58, 75%) and with either self-harm (n=34, 44%) or suicidal ideation (n=28, 36%), where females significantly outnumbered males (89% vs 66%; p=.028). Other presentations included low mood, anxiety and behavioural problems, and following assessment from an adult mental health service team member, 55% (n=39) were given an Axis I psychiatric diagnosis. Almost all adolescents were discharged following assessment (n=68, 96%), the majority being referred on to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) (55, 78%). 

Conclusion: Crisis presentations to EDs often occur in adolescents with co-existing psychiatric disorders, and require skilled and therapeutic assessment. Knowledge of appropriate services for onward referral is essential, and highlight the importance of a close collaborative between adult EDs and CAMHS.

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