Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Adolescents presenting with mental health crises

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-08-30, 10:26 authored by Veselina Gadancheva, Helen BarryHelen Barry, Fiona McNicholas


The aim of the study is to examine emergency mental health (MH) presentations and assessments of adolescents (16-18) presenting to a Dublin adult emergency department (ED). 


Clinical data was collected on all patients over a 12 month period. 


Seventy seven adolescents presented, the majority out of hours (n=58, 75%) and with either self-harm (n=34, 44%) or suicidal ideation (n=28, 36%), where females significantly outnumbered males (89% vs 66%; p=.028). Other presentations included low mood, anxiety and behavioural problems, and following assessment from an adult mental health service team member, 55% (n=39) were given an Axis I psychiatric diagnosis. Almost all adolescents were discharged following assessment (n=68, 96%), the majority being referred on to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) (55, 78%). 


Crisis presentations to EDs often occur in adolescents with co-existing psychiatric disorders, and require skilled and therapeutic assessment. Knowledge of appropriate services for onward referral is essential, and highlight the importance of a close collaborative between adult EDs and CAMHS.



The original article is available at

Published Citation

Gadancheva V, Barry H, McNicholas F. Adolescents presenting with mental health crises. Ir Med J. 2019;112(10):1020.

Publication Date

16 December 2019

PubMed ID



  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Psychiatry


Irish Medical Association


  • Published Version (Version of Record)