Psychiatric Ward Bed Shortages Hit Young

Teenagers are being forced into adult psychiatric units because of bed shortages in suitable wards, according to a new report. The study in Scotland found eight out of 10 youths who suffered psychosis for the first time were admitted to adult wards.

Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Leonie Boeing, of St John’s Hospital, Livingston, who worked on the research, described the findings as shocking. She said adult wards had lower staffing levels and the level of disturbance that could be caused by older patients was not appropriate for young people coping with mental health problems.

She also said units for adolescents offered more activities relevant to teenagers including access to schooling and more therapy relevant to teenagers.

The study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, was based on a survey of 101 adolescents treated over a number of years in South Glasgow, Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Since the survey was carried out, Dr Boeing said more beds for teenager with mental health problems have been cut in Scotland.