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We read warnings about teen mental health in Ireland on a daily basis, and this latest report proves that decisive action really needs to be taken by health authorities.

 

According to a report in the Irish Times today, the number of teenagers attending the emergency department of Temple Street Children’s University Hospital due to self-harm or threatened self-harm is at an all-time high.

 

The publication quotes consultant and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Brian Houlihan, who confirmed there were over “300 presentations for emotional concern” in 2014. The alarming figure, Dr Houlihan says, is “the largest number to date”.

 

Commenting on what may be behind the surge in cases, Dr Houlihan said: “We are especially aware of the risks associated with the increased complexity of social demand, peer and academic expectation, physiological and hormonal change and, in some vulnerable adolescents, the disinhibition of alcohol and drugs; these are often a lethal trap.”

 

Dr Houlihan also highlighted the importance of vigilance when it comes to technology, admitting that he and his staff have had to ban devices from certain wards.

 

“We see children attached to mobile phones and iPods. Frequently, when adolescents are admitted to an acute paediatric hospital, we find they cannot exist without their mobile being immediately available,” he added.

 

This is such a concerning report, and it definitely gives food for thought to parents of teens all over the country.

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