An Examination of Psychiatric Inpatient Admissions in Rural Ireland
As with ill health in general, the conventional wisdom is that mental illnesses are more prevalent in urban settings. This assumption has meant that there has been a paucity of literature documenting the mental health needs of rural and remote communities. For example, the present literature on psychiatric inpatient admissions in Ireland is essentially a descriptive overview of psychiatric services at both the national and county level – their activity; an outline of the current services or planned changes to the structure and provision of and access to mental health services. Such comparative analysis informs future planning decisions for both the development and delivery of mental health decisions. However, to date no research has been carried out on the spatial incidence of mental illness at the small area level in Ireland. Using data from the National Psychiatric In-patient Reporting System (NPIRS), this paper aims to address this gap in the literature, by providing a rural/urban comparison of admissions to psychiatric units and hospitals in Ireland. Results from this analysis found that in Ireland, rural residents had a higher probability of being admitted to a psychiatric hospital for schizophrenia, depression and alcoholism, given there demographic and socio-economic characteristics compared to urban residents.
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