Background: COVID-19 is one of the most challenging and devastating public health emergencies we have experienced in our lifetimes. There is a growing concern that the pandemic and its imposed public health restrictions may be harming a generation of young people. This article concerns child and adolescent psychiatry as there is already a mismatch between resources and demand.
Method: This paper will outline the day to day working challenges encountered by the SPMHS adolescent service, staff, and patients in the initial months of the COVID-19 crisis and some of the strategies implemented to deal with these.
Discussion: In St. Patrick’s University Hospital in Ireland, significant challenges in the adolescent service were encountered in the initial months of the COVID-19 crisis. These included the cessation of face-to-face patient interactions, therapeutic leave and visiting restrictions, school closure, social restrictions, difficulties in organizing medical appointments and investigations, family stress and increased workload for staff. Strategies including telepsychiatry have enabled the delivery of an efficient and accessible adolescent service during this crisis.
Conclusion: Future research is required to analyse how best we can support children and adolescents during COVID-19, particularly those with existing mental illness is crucial.