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Saturday 22nd October 2016

Children's mental health?

21st July 2006

16032006_sad_face.jpgThe number of children with certain types of mental health disorders has more than doubled in the past 30 years, with a million experiencing problems at any one time in England, doctors' leaders warned.

Around one in 10 children will experience a clinically recognised mental health disorder between the ages of one and 15, says the report by the British Medical Association's board of science. Children from poor backgrounds, children in care, children of asylum seekers, and children who have witnessed domestic violence are at higher risk of developing mental health problems. Governments in the United Kingdom must tackle poverty and deprivation to stem the increase in mental health problems among children, says the report 'Child and Adolescent Mental Health: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals'.

Despite the fact that doctors are seeing more mental health problems among children, variation in services or even a lack or provision in some areas means that many young people are not being referred. This is particularly true of children and adolescents from ethnic minority groups, as disorders are sometimes unrecognised and staff are insensitive to cultural issues, said Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of ethics and science at the BMA. The report also points out that many 16 and 17 year olds end up falling through the gap between child and adolescent mental health services.

The BMA urges that all policies be “fully monitored� for effectiveness and for current recruitment issues in mental health services to be addressed. It wants more child friendly services being run in different styles and from different venues to appeal to a broad range of young people, and in particular to see more money put into mental health services for children and adolescents.

Meanwhile the European Medicines Agency has ruled that Prozac can be prescribed for children as young as eight. The Agency has decided the benefits outweighed the risks in children with moderate to severe depression who failed to respond to psychological therapy. However, it ruled the drug should only be used in combination with on-going therapy. Mental health campaigners said it was vital that any use of the drug in children was closely monitored.

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Shane Ibbs

Tuesday 6th February 2007 @ 10:20

As a practitioner working with children and young people with substance misuse problems, some of whom have emotional or mental health problems, my concerns are as services continue to be cut back more young people who are not 'diagnosed' or labelled with a 'mental health' problem will fall through the existing gaps in provision.

Todays emotionally distressed young people who cannot access a service are more prone to becoming tomorrows adult's with 'mental health' problems and possibly a substance abuse problem. I say this having worked in social services and the adult and young persons substance misuse field for over 13 years.

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