Monday, 31 January 2011

Divorced People Top Table in Psychiatric Care
Divorced people had the highest rate of hospitalisation in Irish psychiatric units last year, new figures reveal. A census is carried out in March each year by the Health Research Board of people resident in psychiatric units across the country. It found that 2,812 people were resident on the census night and nearly half of the long-stay group were over the age of 65 years.

Men accounted for 53 per cent of all residents, a percentage which has remained almost unchanged over the last 40 years. One third were aged 65 years or over, 12 per cent were aged 25-34 years and six per cent were under 25. When they calculated the rate of hospitalisation among various groups they found that divorced people topped the table. Divorced people had a hospitalisation rate of 115.9 per 100,000, followed by those widowed at 90.9 per 100,000.

Dublin psychiatrist Dr Siobhan Barry denied the figures showed that being divorced is bad for a person’s mental health. “Some folk may be in hospital because they simply don’t have someone at home to provide them with support. The hospitalisation can be to get them over the roughest part,” she said.

“Often being married or in a relationship is protective because there is also support at home. Whether someone has another person to look after them can influence whether they end up in hospital or not.” Irish Independent. January 11.

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