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Acute Psychiatry Day Hospital Referral Rates During The World Cup   Back Bookmark and Share

Author : Kelly Brendan , Delaney A-M, Maguire B, Windsor S

Sir The soccer World Cup excites considerable emotion and excitement in many countries around the world. The expression of such emotion varies considerably from culture to culture. In Colombia, for example, a national player who scored an own goal at the 1994 World Cup was assassinated in the street by disgruntled soccer fans.1 In less volatile societies, such as Ireland, major sporting events are often associated with increased consumption of alcohol and an alteration in drinking habits. We studied alcohol-related referrals to an acute psychiatry day hospital during the 2002 World Cup finals.

Cluain Mhuire Acute Day Hospital provides outpatient mental health care for a catchment area population of approximately 175,000. Treatment programmes are available for a wide range of psychiatric illnesses and include a comprehensive alcohol treatment programme, comprising multidisciplinary assess-ment, outpatient detoxification, group therapy and after-care. Referrals are accepted from outpatient and inpatient psychiatric teams, or may be initiated in primary care and accepted into the acute day hospital through community psychiatric teams.

Table: Number of referrals to the acute day hospital during the 6-week period of the 2002 World Cup and a comparison period in 2001
Alcohol misuse1026
Psychosis 34

We reviewed referral rates to the acute day hospital during the 6-week period of the World Cup finals in 2002 and during a 6-week comparison period in 2001. Referral rates for alcohol misuse, depression/anxiety and psychosis are shown in the Table. Referral rates for alcohol misuse during the World Cup finals in 2002 were 160% greater than those during the comparison period in 2001. Over the same time periods, referral rates for depression/anxiety and schizophrenia also increased, but not to the same extent.

Alcohol is traditionally associated with a range of events in Irish society, including weddings, funerals, commercial meetings and artistic events.2 Sporting events are also commonly linked to alcohol consumption. The 2002 World Cup finals had a particular impact on drinking habits as the event was held in Japan and Korea, with the result that matches were often broadcast in early morning in Ireland.

In Quality and Fairness the Department of Health and Children3 stated its intention to introduce further actions to promote sensible alcohol consumption, on the basis of a review of the National Alcohol Policy, and to examine possible further restrictions on the advertising of alcohol. We suggest that such actions take into account the impact of major sporting events on patterns of alcohol consumption.

We wish to acknowledge the assistance of Dr Kenneth Sinanan, Consultant Psychiatrist, Cluain Mhuire Services; and Dr Marie Murray, Director of Psychology, St Vincents Hospital, Fairview, Dublin.

1,2BD Kelly, 1S Windsor, 1A-M Delaney, 1B Maguire
1Cluain Mhuire Acute Day Hospital;
2Stanley Research Unit, Cluain Mhuire Services, Dublin

Brendan Kelly,
Cluain Mhuire Family Centre,
Newtownpark Avenue,
Co. Dublin.
Telephone: (01) 2833766.
Fax: (01) 2833886.
Email: [email protected]

  1. Glanville B. The Story of the World Cup (6th edition). Faber and Faber, London, 2001
  2. Webb M. Alcohol Excess the curse of the drinking classes. In: Mental Health in Ireland (ed. Keane C). Gill and Macmillan and Radio Telefis Eireann, Dublin, 1991
  3. Department of Health and Children. Quality and Fairness: A Health System for You. Stationary Office, Dublin, 2001.
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