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Characteristics of the Detained and Informal Child and Adolescent Psychiatric In-Patient Populations

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This project surveyed the use of the Children Act and the Mental Health Act in in-patient child and adolescent mental health services in England and Wales. Methods:

Data were collected as a day census from child and adolescent psychiatric inpatient units, questionnaire forms completed by consultant psychiatrists or key-workers. Returns were received from 71 of the 80 units. Results:

One hundred and twenty-seven of the 663 patients had been admitted formally, the great majority under a section of the Mental Health Act. Compared with those admitted informally, those admitted formally were older, contained a higher proportion of males and had ‘adult-type diagnoses’, mainly schizophrenia, mood disorders and personality disorder. The clinical and psychosocial characteristics of formal and informal patients were consistent with these differences. Conclusions:

This study provides a timely and useful snapshot of the use of the Acts in this population.
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Keywords: Child and adolescent psychiatry; Children Act; Mental Health Act; legislation; mental health

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Research Unit, 83 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0HW, UK 2: Solicitor, White and Sherwin Solicitors, Simpson House, 2/6 Cherry Orchard Road, Croydon CR0 6BA, UK 3: Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK 4: Phoenix Centre, Ida Darwin, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB1 5EE, UK 5: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, London WC1N 3JH, UK

Publication date: 2003-09-01

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