The Government wants to nip mental health issues in the bud; to treat anxious and depressed children and young people before they develop long-term mental health problems. What does a psychotherapist think?
This is a good concept. Early intervention in mental health problems is important and the right kind of intervention can prevent long-term difficulties. It’s not always easy to spot mental health issues in our children though. Symptoms can go un-noticed. A child who withdraws into their bedroom for days on end just wanting to play on the Xbox or Play Station could go ignored and their problems put down to teenage behaviour. It maybe though, that the child is depressed, struggling in relationships perhaps and is withdrawing as a symptom of his or her depression.
A child who over eats, or who under eats, could be thought of as ‘enjoying their food’ or ‘fad dieting’. Prolonged over eating, or under eating, would suggest eating disorder. Badly behaved children, angry or destructive, could be acting out; externalizing painful feelings.
Children need to be listened to: to have a safe space where their feelings and fears and stresses can be expressed. It’s hard sometimes to find the time, in our busy working lives, to really listen to our children or to observe their behaviour. But it’s important that we try.
The Government is recommending CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which, while sometimes effective in the short term, does not actually tackle the underlying causes of the anxiety or depression. If the government are to really halt the increase in mental health problems, among the young, it seems important that a range of psychological therapies are available, tailored to suit the needs of each individual.
At The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice, in Harley Street, the therapists practice a range of effective talking therapies; all designed to tackle the underlying cause of the problems patients present with. The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice is currently working with many young people suffering with eating disorders, depression and anxiety.