Why are more children seeking help for serious mental health problems?

Stuff co.nz 2 April 2016
Family First Comment: This article is raising the exact same issues we already raised in our February report on the anti-smacking law “Defying Human Nature”. https://www.familyfirst.org.nz/research/smacking-law-2016/

“It’s not that young people have different problems from when he started 13 years ago. There are just more of them. More severe depression. More severe anxiety. More self-harm. More suicide risk. Post-traumatic stress; psychosis; personality development problems; autism spectrum disorders – the list goes on. Cut through the jargon and it boils down to one thing – more young people with ‘real challenges just coping with day to day living’.” College of Psychiatrists spokesman

There’s a stack of yellow slips on school guidance counsellor Edmund Salem’s desk and a string of emails waiting. Those are just the self-referrals – the teens voluntarily seeking help.

“The work is very busy on the front line,” the Tawa College counsellor says. That’s an understatement. Health Ministry statistics show demand for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) has soared by 30 per cent in just five years.

In many areas, new referrals have spiked more than 50 per cent and in the Lakes DHB region, twice as many young people are seeking help today compared with five years ago.

But that’s just the worst cases – the most severe 3-5 per cent of youth mental health problems. Think severe depression, crippling anxiety, suicide attempts, cutting and massively disruptive childhood disorders such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Advocates say stretched services are turning away young people with serious problems – including teens at risk of suicide. Which means family doctors, community clinics and school counsellors are left to cope with increasingly severe anxiety and depression.

So is modern life simply more taxing for today’s youth, or are we raising less resilient young people?
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/77974796/why-are-more-children-and-young-people-seeking-help-for-serious-mental-health-problems
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