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August 01, 2005
Minors in Adult Psychiatric Care
Read more... Schizophrenia Housing
Putting minors into adult psychiatric facilities may put them at risk for a lifetime of mental illness. They might be over-medicated, shackled, and sexually vulnerable to the adults in the psychiatric facility. Over 1,000 minors have been put in adult psychiatric facilities within the past year.
"The culture of the service (in adult wards) is really organised around middle-aged and very disabled patients, so young people in the early stages of a mental illness get very poor care and often quite traumatic care," he said [Professor McGorry, a world leader in adolescent psychiatry]. "There are a lot of disturbed patients there and they're often secluded and injected with medications." John Mendoza, chief executive of the Mental Health Council of Australia, called for an immediate end to juveniles being admitted to adult wards" (Hart, 2005).
Mendoza went on to say that this is one of the biggest challenges that policy-makers for mental health have faced. Often the youth are put into adult facilities in which they do not recieve the care they need. On top of that, they are often traumatized by their experience in the facility. Having a bad first time experience will only keep them from wanting to ever enter a facility in the future; they will see them as scary rather than as therapeutic. Treating the mental disorder in its initial stages can be crucial for rehabilitation and for a quicker recovery.
There are not as many psychiatric services for minors, but it is recommended that one use such facilities if possible instead of adult psychiatric facilities. It is also important to judge each facility on its own merits, regardless of whether it is for children or adults. There are very good and very poor facilities for both patient groups, and many in between.
Dr. Torrey, in his book "Surviving Schizophrenia" (pp. 180-181), suggests the following for how to identify a good hospital program:
--talk to your doctor, treating psychiatrist, hospital staff, and other families who are familiar with programs in the area; ask for their recommendations and reviews of various programs
--More on finding a good hospital program (FAQ guide)
The source of this article is the Nationwide News Pty Limited, The Australian
Posted by christine at August 1, 2005 02:37 PM
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