In 2015, 95 children in Ireland were admitted to adult psychiatric units due to a lack of suitable emergency and inpatient placements for children at risk of suicide or self-harm. This practice was due to be phased out 10 years ago.
Senator Freeman has proposed that increased engagement between the public and private sectors would decrease the existing waiting list. Currently, there are 2,298 children waiting for mental health assessment (as of July 2016). Child appropriate mental health care and intervention is essential to the long term welfare of children. This necessity is further highlighted by the reality that three-quarters of mental health difficulties arise before the age of 25.
Senator Joan Freeman has committed to introducing legislation which would place a prohibition on the continued practice of placing children in adult inpatient psychiatric facilities. In conjunction with new legislation, Senator Freeman proposes that implementing a collaboration agreement between the HSE and the independent sector would ensure a reduction in the existing waiting lists for child and adolescent mental health assessments.
Through the implementation of The 95 Project, Ireland would see an end to this practice of admitting children to adult psychiatric units as well as a reduction of the existing waiting lists. A further benefit of increased engagement between the HSE and private sector service providers would be the regionalisation of Psychiatric Intensive Care Units in Ireland.
This would provide further treatment options outside that of the public health services to children who suffer from mental health issues, and relieve the current existing pressure on the public health service.