You may not have read the government’s response to the House of Commons’ Education committee, which undertook an extensive enquiry into the health and well-being of looked-after children. I don’t blame you, so let me save you the bother.
Education committee says:
LAC children have terrible mental health outcomes (interestingly almost the whole report is about mental, not physical health)
They often have poor access to CAMHS and other mental health support services, especially if their placement is not stable.
They are often hard to reach, and their difficulties do not fit into neat categories, so need a flexible approach to referral and therapy.
I would add: The current system of medical monitoring is excessively focused on exhaustive information gathering, and fastidious paperwork, over mental health and focusing on the child’s current needs.
In summary, the government’s response is “no, everything is just fine, and anything that isn’t fine is the local authorities fault”. Again and again they reject the recommendations, some kicked to the long grass while their expert reference group spends 18 months coming to the same conclusions as the committee, some dismissed because Future in Mind solved mental health.
Deeply disappointing but sadly, not a surprise.
It’s always dangerous to hang anything on a survey, but let’s accept for a moment the plausible idea that parents, when asked about their worries for children entering school, place academic progress above their happiness. Is this even a bad thing? If the current cohort were content by historical standards, maybe it wouldn’t be a mistake, but well being indicators are worsening, especially among girls at secondary school age, while, conversely, academic results improve. So are parents wrong to worry more about performance than happiness? On average, yes, although clearly it’s hard to generalise.
It’s not just that happiness is a problem right now. Recent work from LSE shows that, as a predictor of life satisfaction in adulthood, emotional well-being is far more important than academic success. So being concerned with children’s mental health isn’t cuddly, fluffy thinking, it’s hard nosed, evidence based policy. The current mania for performance and discipline in schools has obscured their role in producing functional, well adjusted citizens, and we all have a duty to resist it in our own way.
You would think from media coverage that the UK is in the grips of an ADHD ‘epidemic’.
This BMJ article burst that bubble. Diagnosis rates increased to 0.5% in 2008 then… stayed the same.
Interesting article on research that supports the clinical distinction between early and late onset conduct disorder
Very succinct review pointing out the ongoing difficulties with accessing CAMHS
This article challenges assertions about the effectiveness of head space, a youth mental health service in Australia. As such, it makes the implicit point that new, promising models need proper evaluation before being rolled out
This is a bit of a find. Not just free, but handily packaged into chapter pdfs.
I don’t know many of the authors, but those I do are very good. So worth a look.
CAPSS wants to know what involvement we have.
Come on, we’re always moaning about being forgotten by mental health!!
As far as we know, this is the first MSc course for paediatricians to offer a Mental Health module in its second year. Interested trainees please do apply!
Parenting interventions for children with severe attachment problems
This is a good, thoughtful blog about attachment problems, but it’s unclear what work the category of ‘attachment problems’ is doing here, as parenting seems to have the same impact on this group as on other children.
As the review asks: do we need to develop interventions that specifically address attachment problems, or are the established interventions enough?