The recent dept of Health document “No health without mental health” emphasises the need to prioritise preventative and early intervention services when responding to the mental health needs of young people.
Yet, I believe that people are unaware of the numbers of young people suffering with serious mental health problems. Mental health promotion for young people is vital, in my opinion; failure to intervene early enough contributes to a life of distress, barriers, and problems for too many young people. I am aware of many children struggling with the challenges of education, learning and growing up whilst also experiencing low mood, depression, self harm and suicidal thoughts.
More young people are being referred to CAMHS services. It is worrying that at least 1 in 4 young people are likely to be referred to CAMHS during their childhood or adolescence. Within the West Midlands CAMHS community and in-patient services for young people have been developed in response to this growing need.
As a CAMHS nurse and a senior lecturer at BCU I believe passionately that the comprehensive health care needs of young people and their families must be integral to our courses. We must ensure all pre-registration student nurses have opportunities to consider child and adolescent development issues, the importance of attachments and supportive relationships, risk and resilience factors which impact on health, the incidence and nature of mental health and related challenges, the structure, and how to access CAMHS.
Child and adolescent mental health is “everybody’s business” whether we are engaged directly or indirectly with children and their families. We have a timely opportunity to integrate this perspective within our student population: tomorrow’s registered nurses.
I hope we do not miss this opportunity.
We also offer a Learning beyond Registration CAMHS pathway as part of our BSc(Hons) Mental Health Studies programme for registered nurses, allied professionals, and other people interested in the health and wellbeing of young people. Please contact me if you are interested in hearing more about our learning beyond registration BSC(Hons) CAMHS pathway. We are currently planning the two double modules which will be offered during the 2011/12 academic year which is scheduled to commence in October this year.