Adolescent psychiatry

Akeso Milnerton has launched a 29-bed adolescent psychiatry unit

It is estimated that 20% of all adolescents globally suffer from a mental disorder, with suicide being the second leading cause of death among young people worldwide. Common adolescent behavioural disorders including substance abuse, anxiety, depression, trauma and stress-related disorders as well as developing personality problems, are key risk factors contributing to this concerning statistic. Adolescent mental health problems affect not only the adolescent but whole families.

In recognition of the need for treatment of adolescents, Akeso Milnerton launched its new, dedicated Adolescent Unit. This outcomes-based unit will be managed by a team of experienced nursing staff and will be managed by a multi-disciplinary team, including psychiatrists, clinical and counselling psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers who will work in a coordinated fashion to assist adolescents and their families to find health balance and to stay well in their everyday lives post-discharge.

Akeso believes in a holistic approach which includes skills-based, remedial and preventative interventions. When disorders are picked up early, the risk of the development of long term chronicity into adulthood is significantly reduced. The Unit will employ the dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) model) as its foundation, although other types of therapy will be integrated as appropriate. DBT is a practical, evidence-based therapy that provides the adolescent with skills and techniques to regulate moods and facilitate behaviours that lead to a virtuous cycle of positive consequences that build their self-esteem. Many adolescents are caught in self-destructive behaviours they find difficult to break out of. DBT addresses this directly.

This 29-bed Unit will have a significant, positive impact on access to quality mental health care within the Western Cape and will offer new hope to many adolescents suffering with debilitating mental health conditions.

References available on request.