As a senior child and adolescent mental health nurse working in the NHS, I cannot agree more that young people need more than antidepressants (Children face a mental health crisis, but they need more than antidepressants, 4 settembre). I would go further and say that they also need more than therapy or talking-cure interventions. They need mental health interventions joined with other vital government agencies in order to make effective changes to their lived experience.
I meet many children and young people who are suffering because of very poor housing, serious parental mental health issues and the unavailability of a social worker to support the complex needs of the family. But I am unable to access the necessary support from appropriate agencies to address these issues. The reason is because these agencies, in particular children’s services, are overwhelmed with referrals and unable to respond. This means that as a society we are not able to safeguard a generation of children and young people.
Effective mental health support depends on the provision of basic needs, as described in Maslow’s hierarchy: a safe place to live, which means adequate nutrition and “good enough parenting/caring”, and an absence of violence or abuse in the family home.
I have lost count of the number of young people that I have seen over the years who have not experienced adequate safeguarding in the broadest sense, and this has been to the serious detriment of their mental health.