Friday, 9 October 2015

Paediatric mental health

Just a quick one today as I am going out tonight!

I am currently on a paediatrics rotation at hospital, so am spending a lot of time learning about specific illnesses that affect children and adolescents, as well as those that can carry on into adulthood. Today we had a lecture on mental illness in people under the age of 18, and there were a few points that stuck with me.

We were told that around 40% of adults that struggle with their mental health later on in life will have started to have symptoms at an average age of 14 years old. To me, that sounds so young. My sister is currently 14 years old and she is still a child. But when I look back, I started suffering with depression when I was just 15, and I thought I was really grown up at that age.

The most common mental illnesses in children are depression, eating disorders, anxiety and ADHD. Mental health in young people is slightly different to adults, as it affects everyone around them. The family are usually involved, and can find it incredibly hard to deal with. Sometimes the school has to be informed. The child may struggle to accept their diagnosis, and it can sometimes make them grow up quickly and almost take their childhood away from them.

Mental illnesses are very common in childhood. And yet there are not enough services to deal with it. It can take months for a referral to the child and adolescent mental health team (CAMHS), and during that time there is not really any professional following them up to see how they are coping. It is not only the child that needs support, but the family too. I think that in the future this needs to change: children need better access to services that can help them quickly.

I am quite passionate about paediatric psychiatry, probably because of my own experiences, and still haven't ruled it out as a career. I think it would be very rewarding to help children with their mental health, so that they can hopefully grow up with techniques to cope and consequently have a happier adult life.
Sometimes putting yourself first isn't selfish, it's necessary.

1 comment:

  1. I'm seriously considering a career in CAMHS - helping people with their mental health before it impacts on their adult life and opportunities is something I care strongly about.
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog