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Teenagers Doomed?

Some of the things I learnt at recent NHS Mental Health conferences

  • 1 in 10 or about 850,000 5-16 year olds have a mental disorder, only about 25% receive any help. That was 2004! New data expected next year It’s a Scary Thought:

  • “Specialist CAMHS run by junior staff, & too few therapists” So rookies are attempting to help teenagers in crisis? How is that a good idea?

  • 32% of girls aged 15 and 11% of boys self-harm.

  • Waiting times for an appointment 2-48 weeks!

  • If I’d had the help in my teens that I had in my thirties, I wouldn’t have missed my thirties!

That was a powerful statement which I am sure we can all relate to. It is easy to understand how some are declaring that the future is bleak for our youth.

1. Who is responsible for the Increasing Teenage Mental Health Crisis?

  • The parents?

  • The schools?

  • The politicians?

  • Technology?

  • The NHS Mental Health Advisors?

The parents? They do the best they can – it’s not our culture to learn how to parent children and they have no skills to help heal emotions

The schools? They are there to teach and are now expected to do therapy too, without the appropriate training.

The politicians? They are throwing money into what hasn’t worked. New stats, changing structures, new labels are masking the truth that interventions are not working effectively

Technology? Yes there is addiction and reduction in actual communication skills in our young people the risk of becoming introverted and isolated, but this was forecastable

Mental Health workers? They are doing the best they can with the methods they are aware of.

The NHS Mental Health Experts? If they explore what works outside the NHS services, they may have to change what they do to something more effective and so be more dispensable if they don’t go with the changes. (for example the methodology in private practice)

BBC news reported

Up to two-thirds of people with depression do not respond to anti-depressants

CBT, a type of psychotherapy, was found to benefit nearly half of the 234 patients who received it combined with normal care from their GP.

The App market place is going to be flooded with hope – CBT delivered by an app and cutting out the therapist. With a therapist the success rate is less than 50%, without the face to face involvement it’s reasonable to expect the success rate will fall.

2 What Can Be Done?

In 2014 NHS Stafford ran a clinical trial using EFT commonly known as the tapping technique. 35 of the 36 patients suffering from depression by the end of the trial had improved. Compared to CBT's less than 50% success, that’s an effective 97% success rate.

It will probably take years for the NHS to implement using EFT. In the meantime parents will have to fund their childs private therapy or hope their school is employing and EFT specialist to help. (and some schools do - sometimes because it is also an effective method to help with revision and exam success)

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