To describe the characteristics and diagnoses of patients admitted to a general adolescent psychiatric in-patient unit. We describe the age, gender and psychiatric diagnosis of the patient, as well as whether the patient exhibited violent behaviour in the ward, whether he/she needed to be transferred to a different service and whether he/she was admitted under a section of the Mental Health Act 1983.
Patients were evenly distributed in terms of gender, with most being 14–16 years old. Diagnoses were varied with adjustment disorder predominating, but could be separated into four main groups. Levels of violence were high, being associated with detention under the Mental Health Act 1983, and often resulted in transfer to another service.
The needs of certain adolescents admitted to a general-purpose adolescent unit may not be best met in this environment. Current services must change to meet the needs of their patients. There may be a need for greater specialisation.
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