There has been an increase in the number of children admitted to mental health facilities, according to the annual report of the Mental Health Commission.

In 2010, 429 children were admitted, which was an increase of 16%.

There were 24% fewer children admitted to adult facilities, down from 205 in 2009 to 155 in 2010.

There was a 65% increase in children admitted to child units, which was up from 166 in 2009 to 274 in 2010.

The MHC says the figure is up because more places have become available in facilities for children.

It also warned that services are facing significant staff shortages because of the 'haemorrhaging of personnel'.

At the launch of the report, chairman of the MHC Dr Edmond O'Dea said in some areas 20% of nurses have left and have not been replaced due to the moratorium on recruitment.

He said nurses have also been withdrawn from community services to plug the gaps in inpatient units.

The commission believes the shortages are slowing down the move from institutional to community-based mental health services.

Mental health services are also seeing an increase in demand, because of the recession.

The Commission is not happy with the pace of change and while welcoming the Government's plans, said half way into the ten-year Vision for Change policy it has not seen the 'fundamental changes envisaged.'