Growing crisis in children and young people's mental health demands action. Young people face unprecedented social pressures, leading to serious psychological distress. Society’s response has been inadequate

Burstow, Paul and Jenkins, Paul (2016) Growing crisis in children and young people's mental health demands action. Young people face unprecedented social pressures, leading to serious psychological distress. Society’s response has been inadequate. The Guardian . ISSN 0261-3077

Full text not yet available from this repository.

Abstract/Book Review

Self-harm among young people, particularly girls, has rocketed in the last decade. The number of girls admitted to hospital after cutting themselves has quadrupled, incidents of poisoning have risen by more than 40%, and demand for university counselling services has mushroomed. Behind these figures are young people and families struggling to cope with toxic levels of mental distress. In part these numbers reflect a greater awareness of mental health and willingness to seek help but more is going on than that. These figures are also evidence that the today’s generation of young people are facing unprecedented levels of social pressure leading to serious psychological distress. Our response, as a society, has not, as yet, been anywhere near sufficient to answer this cry for help. At the Tavistock and Portman specialist mental health trust, we have been engaged for nearly 100 years in understanding the causes of psychological distress among young people and, in particular, the impact of childhood experience, relationships and trauma, on mental health. It is why we feel strongly that it was the right thing to do to let the cameras in and help tell the story of young people, their families and clinicians working with them. Channel 4’s documentary Kids on the Edge, screened over the last month, is the result. For us it has captured, with great sensitivity, the challenges faced by young people and their families, and which our services are working through on a daily basis. Some of what is shown is shocking but not in a sensationalist way. Only by better understanding, both intellectually and emotionally, the level of distress that can drive a young person to self-harm or to think of taking their own life can we begin to move forward. There is a growing crisis in children and young people’s mental health. It demands a response, it requires urgent action. We would highlight three priorities. First, demand for help is outstripping supply. A target has been set that 70,000 more young people are able to access help by 2020. That is welcome. However, the treatment gap is enormous. It is estimated that only 25-35% of young people who need help for mental health difficulties receive it. If this was true for cancer there would be a public outrage. Furthermore many services are seeing year-on-year increases in demand of more than 10%, often combined with a rise in case complexity. If the goal is to get good quality and timely help to the young people who need it, the new money promised by the government for children’s mental health must reach the frontline. So far the story on this has been mixed. Second, dealing with emotional and mental distress is part of the day-to-day business of teachers, social workers and other professionals. This workforce need the right skills, recognition and support to help build resilience in children and keep them engaged with education... Click on official URL to continue reading

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Click on the official URL above to read this article.
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Psychotherapy
Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Adolescents - Psychotherapy
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Honorary Staff
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Ms Linda Dolben
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2016 08:34
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2016 08:34
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/1461

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item