The majority of young people with mental health problems are sent to care for themselves or their parents

A study conducted in the West of Ireland found that the vast majority of young people with mental health problems are sent to emergency care themselves or by their parents. This is much more than what doctors or schools recommend.

The study, which focused on people aged 12 to 25, also found that less than one in five needed major psychological help outside of community-based early intervention services, suggesting the latter is a model that could ease the pressure on oversubscribed HSE care.

University of Galway psychology professor Gary Donohoe, who led the study, said it was not clear why 78 per cent of all referrals were from people in need or their parents.

In my experience, GPs are very good at taking into account the needs of young people and their families, so I don’t think there is a problem, he said.

The evidence we need to draw on suggests that young people and their families face difficulties. . . it is very difficult for people to know where to turn.

The study used 1,184 participants who took part in the HSE-funded Mindspace Mayo, which is similar to the national youth mental health organization Jigsaw. where a lot of signage options are highlighted.

Of the recommendations, the share of parents was 40 percent, and the share of self-referrals by young people was 38 percent. Other less common means were schools and teachers, guidance counselors and general practitioners.

Almost one in five (17 percent of the sample) needed more specialized treatment, which is typically provided by the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Service (Camhs).

In a recent interview, HSE chief executive Bernard Gloster said Camhs was under a lot of pressure. Earlier this year, it had 4,450 people on its waiting list.

A study published in the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine found that the most common reasons for referral were problems related to mood and anxiety.

Most of the problems of young people are just normal, understandable difficulties in coping with life; the things that make you anxious, the things that get you down, said Professor Donohoe.

One in five who go to Camhs, they tend to be the ones with the kind of​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​in, a five. This includes psychosis, eating and mood disorders.

You should just get to the second level of Camhs or adult mental health system [Amhs] when you need it either due to the severity or complexity of the problem.

We have been working in a vacuum until now [early intervention] The Irish government started investing in services. If you talk to colleagues about Camhs and Amhs, they’ll say that there’s just such an influx of people coming into the service, and you’re trying to separate the people who really need to be there from the people who don’t.

Women were more likely to refer themselves than men (42% compared to 32%), while GP referrals were slightly more common for men than women (6.3% vs. 4.8%). Participants received an average of six therapeutic supports.

According to the World Health Organization, psychiatric disorders are the most common cause of disability among young people aged 10–24.

In Ireland, a study found that in 2016, 18.5% of the population had a mental health disorder.

Donohoe said early treatment of problems like anxiety is especially important to prevent it from escalating.

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