Let them play…

Allowing young children to play with their friends must be prioritised as soon as possible when lockdown is eased.

This was the argument made by this really interesting post published recently on the ACAMH Blog.

The article discusses the fact that while the Covid-19 pandemic has posed a lower risk of physical health problems for children, it has transformed the social lives of children more rapidly than anyone could have imagined.

A recent rapid systematic review concluded that loneliness and social isolation adversely affect children’s short- and long-term mental health (Loades, M. E. et al). 

You can read the full post on the blog by clicking here.

The RCPCH conference 2021

This year’s RCPCH conference will take place ONLINE between the 15th and 17th of June.

The theme is:
Challenges, opportunities and solutions for Child Heath in the COVID-19 era’.

Click here for more information.


The PMHA at the conference

The PMHA session is on Wednesday 16th June (15:30-18:00) and will be run jointly with Child Protection Special Interest Group. The theme is ‘The impact of COVID on child mental health and on safeguarding’

Abstract submissions are open – please submit abstracts by the 10th March using the link below:

https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/news-events/rcpch-conference-2021-abstract-submission

We look forward to hosting,
and seeing as many of you as possible there! 

Guardian Article about Covid-19 and mental health

There was an interesting article about the Coronavirus and mental health in the UK published in the comment section of the The Guardian today. Have a read and tell us what you think…

Has the pandemic really caused a ‘tsunami’ of mental health problems?

Richard Bentall, Professor of Clinical Psychology: University of Sheffield

“With a team of experts from the Universities of Sheffield, Ulster, Liverpool, UCL and Royal Holloway and Bedford College I have been monitoring the mental health of the UK population since the beginning of the crisis. Looking at our findings, we think that this tsunami narrative is misleading. If accepted uncritically, it could undermine efforts to protect the health of the population and also our ability as a nation to recover once the crisis is over. Here is why….

Click here to read the complete article

Children’s Mental Health Week, 1-7 February 2021

The PMHA is delighted to be supporting #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek, organised by the charity @Place2Be. Of course, for those of us in the PMHA, every week is Children’s Mental Health Week, but this yearly event is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of this issue more widely and start some important conversations at work and at home.

This past year has been an incredibly difficult one for many families, and we are starting to see more and more evidence about the effects that COVID-19, lockdown and school closures have had on children and young people in the UK and around the world. A poll at our annual meeting last week found that 97% of attendees had seen a change in children and young people presenting in acute crisis during COVID-19, with more than 7 in 10 seeing both increased numbers and increased complexity of presentation. And for every child presenting to hospital, there are likely countless more struggling at home.

“Express Yourself”

The theme of this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is “Express Yourself”. Many of us can find it hard to talk about mental health, particularly with children and young people. Place2Be have compiled an excellent set of resources – available at https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/schools-and-youth-groups/ – to help start these conversations and empower children to express themselves in different ways.

Many young people may wish to seek support outside their immediate friends and family. @YoungMindsUK has compiled an excellent list of support services available by phone, text, email and web chat, available here: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/get-urgent-help/ 

Of course, it’s not only children who need help and support during these challenging times. @LittleGoodDeed is a campaign aimed at helping parents and carers who may be struggling during lockdown. If you can, try to take the opportunity this week to reach out to a friend, colleague or family member who may be struggling. If you’re struggling yourself, see https://www.littlegooddeed.org.uk/getsupportnow for a list of useful resources you can access online or by phone.

We at the PMHA will continue to share useful resources throughout this week and beyond, so don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook and, if you haven’t, sign up to become a PMHA member. We look forward to hearing more about how you’ve marked Children’s Mental Health Week and – crucially – how you keep that important work going in the weeks and months to come.

The PMHA Annual Meeting is this week

A reminder that the PMHA Annual Meeting 2021 is taking place ONLINE on Thursday and Friday of this week.

The meeting has a great line-up of talks and presentations relating to different aspects of paediatric mental health and is an excellent way to connect with others working in this field.

Don’t miss out on this excellent annual event. If you haven’t registered yet but would like to attend either of the days, then you can still do so by clicking here.

We look forward to seeing you later this week!

Interesting Upcoming Events from Healthcare Conferences UK

A 10% discount can be requested by quoting ‘HCUK10pmha‘ when booking.

Masterclass: Children’s Safeguarding – Learning from inquiries, serious case reviews and inspections

TUESDAY, 26th JANUARY, 2021 (ONLINE)

This masterclass, facilitated by Carla Thomas and Stephen Pizzey, Child and Family Training, gives an opportunity for delegates to review the findings from inquiries, serious case reviews, safeguarding practices reviews and inspections regarding multi-agency safeguarding practice and consider the implications for their agencies policies and practice. Key learning objectives include considering the history of reviews in relation to child’s death and serious harm, and how some of these led to key changes in legislation and guidance. Review thresholds and processes for serious case and child safeguarding practices reviews.        

For further information and to book your place visit https://www.healthcareconferencesuk.co.uk/conferences-masterclasses/children-safeguarding-findings   
or email kerry@hc-uk.org.uk
Masterclass: Therapeutic work with children and young people suffering child sexual abuse and exploitation

WEDNESDAY, 27th JANUARY, 2021 (ONLINE)

This Masterclass programme, facilitated by Dr Arnon Bentovim and Carol Jolliffe, will help practitioners working in social care, health, education and youth justice to deliver effective therapeutic work with children subject to sexual abuse and exploitation. Practitioners in social care, health, education and youth justice who need to develop their skills in working with children and young people who have been sexually abused and exploited should attend. The programme will present an innovative approach, the development of a Common Practice Elements approach which capitalises on the knowledge embedded in evidence-based treatments identifying evidenced-based therapeutic procedures and integrates them into a Library of Modules.

For further information and to book your place visit https://www.healthcareconferencesuk.co.uk/conferences-masterclasses/therapy-child-abuse 
or email kerry@hc-uk.org.uk
Masterclass: Childhood Neglect: Approaches to understanding, assessment and interventions

WEDNESDAY, 10th FEBRUARY, 2021 (ONLINE)

This masterclass, facilitated by Carla Thomas and Carol Jolliffe, Child and Family Training, will consider the complexity of understanding, managing and modifying the impact of childhood neglect. It will support practitioners and managers in considering interventions to modify neglectful parenting and to increase children’s resilience. All practitioners, and managers, working with children and families in Health, Education, Social Care, in the Public and Voluntary sector should attend.

For further information and to book your place visit https://www.healthcareconferencesuk.co.uk/conferences-masterclasses/childhood-neglect
or email kerry@hc-uk.org.uk
Masterclass: Therapeutic Interventions to Reduce the Harmful Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences

FRIDAY, 12th FEBRUARY, 2021 (ONLINE)

This CPD certified programme will outline the increasing evidence of the impact of Adverse Experiences of Childhood (ACEs) on the health and well-being of children and young people extending into adult life. There is a growing demand for interventions to prevent their harmful effects. Research will be reviewed about the impact of ACEs through population studies, intergenerational studies, and specific groups – self harming, mental health, and substance abuse, offending, and violent behaviour.  Facilitated by Arnon Bentovim, who trained at the Maudsley Hospital/Institute of psychiatry as a Psychoanalyst, and subsequently became involved in the growing interest in the systemic/family therapy field. He helped to establish the Association and Institute of Family Therapy, and researched measures of family functioning, and clinical approaches with colleagues at the Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Children’s hospital.

For further information and to book your place visit https://www.healthcareconferencesuk.co.uk/conferences-masterclasses/therapeutic-interventions-adverse-childhood-experiences  
or email kerry@hc-uk.org.uk

Paediatricians warn parents to be alert to signs of eating disorders

Paediatricians have seen a huge rise in cases of anorexia nervosa and other food restriction disorders in this age group, with some reporting a doubling, tripling or even quadrupling of cases compared with the same period last year.

For more information, please go to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) website by clicking here.

Help and support

BEAT eating disorders charity has a lot of useful information on their website and their helpline is open over the festive period.

Good Riddance But Now What?

Come, children, gather round my knee;
Something is about to be.

Tonight’s December thirty-first,
Something is about to burst.

The clock is crouching, dark and small,
Like a time bomb in the hall.

Hark! It’s midnight, children dear.
Duck! here comes another year.
Ogden Nash
As 2020 draws to a close, the PMHA would like to thank you for your support and to wish you a happy new year.

Hopefully 2021 will be much better and brighter for everyone and we can continue working together to make sure children everywhere lead healthy and happy lives.


Don’t forget about the PMHA’s Annual Meeting (January 28th and 29th)

RCPSYCH Online Study day: Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility

On 7th December 2020, the Royal College of Psychiatrists is holding a highly topical online study day, titled Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (MACR): Time for Change?

You can get a programme for the day here and can book a place here.

Below is some context provided by RCPSYCH:

“The UK has one of the lowest minimum ages of criminal responsibility (MACR) in the world, with the age being set at 10 years old in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 12 in Scotland (having increased from 8 in 2019).  These low ages are inconsistent with current neuroscientific knowledge regarding brain maturation and has led to the UK being singled out for criticism by the United Nations, which issued a General Comment in 2019 stating that the minimum age of criminal responsibility should be at least 14 years old. 

The topic received further media coverage last week (see links below), following the release of the Justice Committee report on Young People and Youth Justice which called on the Government to review the current minimum age or provide justification for not doing this by February 2021. 

The purpose of this conference is to explore the issues behind criminal responsibility including current evidence regarding brain maturation, international approaches to setting minimum ages and alternative non-criminal disposal options for those who commit risky offences below the minimum age of criminal responsibility. It is hoped that participants will come from a wide range of backgrounds so that a full range of views can be heard during the discussions.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/11/12/age-criminal-responsibility-england-wales-should-reviewed-says/

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/nov/12/review-age-criminal-responsibility-england-and-wales

24th World Congress of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions’ (IACAPAP)

The virtual edition of the 24th World Congress of IACAPAP will be held from 2 – 4 December 2020. Themed “Starting from the Beginning – Laying the Foundation for Lifelong Mental Health”, this 3-day virtual congress will cover issues that are close to our hearts, as well as emerging trends and topics of interests to the adolescent and child psychiatry community.

Reasons to attend:

  • Join the programme designed to cater to delegates from different time zones, and engage live with speakers and presenters
  • Get access to session recordings on demand, even after the congress
  • Experience comprehensive programme featuring cutting-edge research and trends in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Gain international networking opportunities with potential collaborative partners, sponsors and exhibitors
  • Garner invaluable insights and experiences from renowned industry and academic experts

Visit www.iacapap2020.org for more information.

Read read more about IACAPAP 2020 in the email newsletter.

COVID-19: Child & Adolescent Mental Healthcare – Disruption or Evolution?

A related webinar on ‘COVID-19: Child & Adolescent Mental Healthcare – Disruption or Evolution?‘ was held in July 2020. You can watch a recording of this webinar here.