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.
(This is a post by Pam Morley, Senior Lecturer at Birmingham City University)
Many people are aware of possible mental health problems associated with pregnancy but do people realise how destructive these can be? Suicide in the perinatal period is the highest cause of maternal death in the UK. Also, maternal depression prior to the baby’s birth can increase the risk of birth complications and poorer birth outcomes, including higher rates of spontaneous abortion, low birth weight babies and developmental delay. Again, anxiety in the mother has been shown to be linked to poorer child health and behavioural difficulties at the age of four years.
National Perinatal Mental Health Project
The National Perinatal Mental Health Project Report, published by the Mental Health Development Unit on 8th March 2011 examines provision of mental health care for women who are planning to have a baby, are pregnant or who have had a baby in the past year or so. In particular the report examines the current provision of care for women in the Black and Ethnic Minority groups. (http://www.nmhdu.org.uk/silo/files/national-perinatal-mental-health-project-report-.pdf)
As I was reading this report one finding struck me as being very significant; namely that 27 different professional groups may be involved in the care of women with mental health difficulties who are in the perinatal period. How can all these different groups work together to provide seamless, efficient care? After all, many of them will have been trained in different ways and use various theories to underpin their practice.
So, how can care be co-ordinated and dove-tailed together? The answer is fairly straightforward, I think. It is the mental health nurse who is at the hub of the multidisciplinary ‘wheel’ together with the service user. It is the mental health nurse who spends time with the service user, who is the conduit through which messages are passed and information carried. Perhaps we should be highlighting this aspect of our role much more. Forget superconductors; just get a mental health nurse involved!
Post-graduate certificate in perinatal mental health at Birmingham City University
Seriously though, we should be promoting this aspect of our role, and giving it the value that it deserves. Without the nurse to ‘glue’ the team together, care would be a lot more fragmented. The importance of communication is a strong aspect of a new post-graduate certificate in perinatal mental health being run at Birmingham City University. This is a brand new course, designed b y academics and clinicians together and aimed at any health care professionals who work with women in the perinatal period. If you would like more information about the course, please email email@example.com.
(Pictures from Flickr creative commons click photos for more details re authors)