Bethlem Adolescent Unit

Location: Bethlem Royal Hospital
Mode: Inpatient, day patient
Average length of inpatient treatment: 40 days
Referrals are accepted from: Consultant psychiatrists, Consultant paediatricians, GPs, GP Consortia, Mental health professionals
Beds: 12 inpatient, 3 day patient

Key areas: Autism spectrum disorders, eating disorders, learning disabilities, mood disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, psychiatric problems, psychosis, self-harm, suicide attempt


We are an open adolescent unit offering mental health care for adolescents with a serious mental illness, who require hospital admission. We have developed a national and international reputation for innovation and have a comprehensive, all hours emergency admission service.

The majority of the young people we treat are emergency admissions, however planned admissions can also be arranged. Admissions are accepted 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including admissions under the Mental Health Act.

Approximately half of the young people admitted to our unit have psychosis. Others have problems relating to their  mood and often pose a risk to themselves. We are also able to admit young people with a variety of other psychiatric or neurodevelopmental disorders, or where there is diagnostic uncertainty.

As we are an open unit, we are unable to admit young people who pose a level of risk that is not consistent with being cared for in such an environment. This judgement is always based on an individual risk assessment rather than applying absolute exclusion criteria, and is reviewed regularly. People requiring care in a more secure setting can be admitted to the unit later if the risk has reduced.

We provide a range of interventions, which are delivered by a team of psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, teachers, occupational therapists, social workers and other therapists.

We maintain close links with the person’s referring team to ensure they experience a smooth transition back to the community. Day treatment is often used as a stepdown service and can sometimes be used to avoid admission altogether.

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