Medicalising Children’s Mental Health

I have just ready a really interesting and poignant article in The Guardian by Natasha Devon who is the Government’s mental health champion in England and Wales.  You can ready the article here.

I have noticed an increase in young people presenting with anxiety, depression, dysmorphia, eating problems, stress etc.

Devon, who founded the Self-Esteem Team, was appointed by the government to look into young people’s mental health and find out what a good school support system looks like. However, she said the government was asking the wrong question. She states “The question we should be asking ourselves is what are the emotional and mental health needs of all children and are they being met in our schools?”

I believe this is a fair question, and one for the lives of children outside school as well in many cases.  Rather than try to find solutions via medication, we should be looking at a child’s emotional wellbeing and this includes their ability to regulate their emotions and to be able to deal with both success and failure.  We should be asking what is causing this increase in these mental issues, not just looking to the doctor to provide medical support for the symptoms, for example anti depressants.

Natasha Devon’s report to Government is expected to be critical of the academic pressures on young people as a result of the testing regime.


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