Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

Information for Parents

A child or young person may be referred for the following reasons

  • Behavioural difficulties
  • Emotional difficulties
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Family relationship difficulties
  • Eating Problems and Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia
  • Mood Disorders: Depression, Bipolar Mood Disorder
  • Autism and Asperger's Syndrome (Diagnosis only)

Info for Parents


A Vision for Change

In 2006 the Government published a report of the expert group on mental health policy. This report is called A Vision for Change. One of the recommendations of this report is that mental health services for children should be provided by multidisciplinary teams. In effect this means that each team is made up of clinicians from different disciplines who all work together to provide a range of therapeutic interventions for each child. Usually a Multidisciplinary Team is made up of the clinicians in the following areas:

1. Consultant Psychiatrist
2. Psychiatrist in training.
3. Nurse
4. Psychologist
5. Social Worker
6. Occupational Therapist
7. Speech and Language Therapist
8. Social Care Worker.

Click on the links to read more information about each discipline in Lucena Clinic.
You can also read the full text of A Vision for Change


Young Children

Information for young children

Growing up can be fun but tricky. Sometimes people need to talk to a grown up to help figure out a problem. It’s good to talk about worrying things so we can better understand our feelings and how we act.



Young Children

Information for Teenagers


Adolescence is an important time of physical, social, emotional and educational development. It can be exciting but confusing. Sometimes it can feel like we don't have any control over what we think or how we feel. But by making simple changes to our lives, we can make a real difference.


History of Lucena Clinic

St. John of God

Lucena was the name of the house and the first hospital which St. John of God opened in 1537 in the city of Granada, Spain. To honour the 5th centenary of the birth of St. John of God in 1495, the Order renamed its Child and Adolescent Mental Health services as Lucena Clinic Services.


The Order wishes to extend the same hospitality shown by John to everyone who came seeking help, healing or shelter at his house on Lucena Street, to every child and family coming to any of the clinics at Rathgar; Tallaght; Dun Laoghaire, Bray and Wickow.

About Us

Lucena Clinics

St. John of God Community Services Limited

Lucena Clinic Services is the Child and Adolescent Mental Health service of St. John of God Community Services Limited. Lucena Clinic Services is a registered charity and has been providing a mental health service to children and adolescents and their families for over 50 years.


The Lucena Clinic services are delivered via our 5  clinics in

 Rathgar  - tel :              (01) 492 3596

 Tallaght  - tel :              (01) 452 6333

 Dun Laoghaire -  tel;    (01) 280 9809

 Bray  - tel :                   (01) 286 6886

 Wicklow - tel :              0404 25591


 If you are trying to contact ST. PETER'S SCHOOL  please visit their website. St. Peter's School   or

 ring their DIRECT LINE : 01 4999300 Please do not ring Lucena Clinic as we cannot transfer your call. 




Dunfillan Day Hospital

Dunfillan is a day hospital which offers a number of places for young people experiencing complex mental health difficulties.  We offer intensive structured clinical programmes, to assist in alleviating these difficulties and in supporting a smooth transition back to your local service.


Top 10 Questions

Question: So why am I being referred to the Day Hospital?

  • Your Lucena outpatient team will have discussed with yourself and your family the reasons why the Day Hospital may be useful specifically for you
  • In general reasons for referral to the Day Hospital are for specific purposes, these include getting a clearer understanding of what’s happening for you. So to rule in or rule out a mental health concern, for example an anxiety disorder, a mood disorder, how you relate with similar age peers and concentration difficulties . It’s also about working with you and your family to learn new ways of coping so not to maintain certain negative cycles of behaviour.
  • Your time at the Day Hospital can provide clarity for young people and their families and information in relation to a diagnosis is shared with your family and yourself. Information on diagnosis and potential other support services can be given.
  • Young people attend the Day Hospital for 3- 6 hours a week so this longer period of time each week helps to get to know you. The total amount of time each week depends on the individual. Depending on similar age group you will attend either 9.30-12.30am or 1.30-4.30pm once or twice a week


Question: What next?

  • Once we receive your referral details and it is appropriate that you might attend we send a letter inviting yourself and your parents/guardian to meet us


Question: What if I don’t want to go?

  • Why don’t you come and visit the building and meet the staff before you decide. It may be better to be curious and come to visit first rather than not attending and not knowing what you’ve turned down
  • Some young people are put off by the idea of a ‘group programme’. Basically what this means is that staff share their experience of helping skills with you alongside other similar age young people.
  • This means that if you are having trouble coping with your emotions, feeling anxious most of the time, staff will teach the group how to cope.
  • It’s important to know that you are not expected to share very personal information with the other young people attending.
  • The group numbers are small so it’s less scary than bigger groups.


Question: I’m still undecided!

  • We understand that sometimes our anxieties and uncertainties of what to expect can sometimes mean that you become overwhelmed and afraid to try.
  • We appreciate it can be hard but we’d ask that you give it some consideration and if you can’t attend then you let us know in advance so we ensure that your referring team know that you have declined a place and may need to see you again


Question: Who will I met there?

  • Professionals:  The Day Hospital team is comprised of different mental health professionals, namely Psychiatrists, Mental Health Nurses, Speech and Language Therapist,  Occupational Therapist, Social Worker and a Teacher  and an Administrator. 
  • Other young people: The Day Hospital accommodates secondary school young people aged 12-18 .We do our best to protect your confidentiality and so to reduce the likelihood that others from your school attend.
  • None of the other young people attending are aware of why you are attending and we don’t advocate that you share private information or exchange personal details so that everyone feels safe and privacy respected. There are other things that you can still talk about though!
  • It’s important that you make the best use of your time here and be as involved as much as possible.


Question: What exactly will I do there?

  • The 3 hours you attend each day will be divided among individual time with staff, a group and possibly an activity.  We will work on things like emotional regulation skills, distress tolerance skills and anger management skills.


Question: What are the limits of the Day Hospital?

  • Young people attending must have an average cognitive ability/ability to understand
  • Although from time to time some of the young people attending the Day Hospital may be on the Autistic Spectrum with a co-occurring anxiety or ADHD diagnosis, the Day Hospital is not an Autistic service
  • The Day Hospital is not a long term placement but a brief intervention
  • In order to help to the best of our ability we advocate that treatment recommendations are considered and followed


Question: When will I leave?

  • Generally young people stay for 6 weeks in total. However this can be shorter depending on individual needs.


Question: What happens next?

  • After your agreed time has ended we arrange a meeting with your family and yourself to discuss overall progress, observations and recommendations
  • It’s important that you give your opinion in your care
  • When you are finished in the Day Hospital you may return to your Outpatient team, you may be discharged from the Lucena service this again depends on individual circumstances.