Fewer young people were admitted to adult wards for mental health treatment in 2022/23, according to a new report.
Figures published by the Mental Welfare Commission showed 79 admissions, involving 66 young people under the age of 18, were placed in the non-specialist mental health wards.
Eight of the 79 admissions involved children aged 15 or younger.
Experts have welcomed the latest reduction, compared to 90 admissions involving 88 young people in 2021/22.
More than half of the young people in 2022/23 were admitted to the wards for a week or less, while 49% stayed for more than one week and 15% for more than five.
However, the figures show 74% of admissions were female, the biggest difference between genders since 2013/14.
And of all the young people admitted in the last year, a quarter were care experienced – the highest proportion seen in years.
But a positive finding was that the proportion of specialist medical staff supporting the young people was high, with 63% of the doctors in charge being child specialists and a further 33% Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs) consultants.
Dr Arun Chopra, medical director at the Mental Welfare Commission, said: “We welcome the fall in numbers of young people under the age of 18 being admitted into non-specialised, mostly adult, wards.
“Numbers are significantly lower than a decade ago and it is good to see this downward trend.
“Sometimes it can be appropriate for a young person to be admitted to a non-specialist ward, but this should only happen in rare situations. For the vast majority of young people, being cared for in a unit designed for their age group, not for adults, should be the norm.
“There are no specialist inpatient facilities in Scotland for children and young people with mental ill health and a learning disability, or for those who are very ill and need intensive psychiatric care, but progress is being made with regards to these areas, which we welcome.”
There are three regional adolescent inpatient mental health units in Scotland for young people aged 12 to 18, based in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee.
A further unit of six beds is in Glasgow for children aged under 12.
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