Eating disorders must be catered for

CORK’s new psychiatric hospital must have beds dedicated to young people suffering with eating disorders according to Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael TD.

Speaking on the eve of World Mental Health Week, Deputy Clune said the new services, which are set to open in Cork before the end of the year, must cater for the desperate need of young people suffering from eating disorders.

“Currently there are no dedicated beds outside of Dublin despite the fact that approximately 7,000 young people nationally are diagnoised annually with eating disorders. In July I asked the Minister for Health whether the new unit on the grounds of the Sacred Heart Convent at Bessboro, Blackrock will contain dedicated beds and I am still awaiting for an answer.”

“I welcome the news last week that a new specialist mental health unit opened in Dublin but we need one in the south too. It has been estimated that 20 per cent of all teenagers in this country have a mental health illness at any one time and we read last week that teenagers in the south east are being admitted to adult psychiatric units for care because we don’t have any facilities for them.”

“In December, regulations will change to increase the age limit for teenage admissions to adult unit is being raised to 17. In one respect this is good but on the other side is the fact that we have no-where else to admit them too. It is a matter of extreme urgency that we address facilities for young people. Otherwise, we may loose many young lives needlessly.”

The HSE currently run an eight-bed unit at St.Stephen’s Hospital in Glanmire as the initial step to establishing mental health services for young people in this region. The new unit in Bessborough will contain 14 beds, eight of which will be transferred from St. Stephen’s Hospital. 20 additional staff will be appointed to the new unit.

The new unit will provide specialist inpatient mental health services in terms of assessment, care and treatment for children and adolescents, up to the age of 18 years, who present with severe emotional and behavioural disorders where there is a likelihood of mental illness.

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