Children Suffering from Mental Health Problems are Staying in Adult Centres

Children are forced to stay in adult mental health facilities due to there not being enough age appropriate help centres for young people.

The issue has resulted in parents taking to the streets in protest and many believe that their children are living in hell while staying at these locations.

The number of youth centres dedicated to mental health in the UK and Ireland continue to deplete at an alarming rate and has even resulted in a doctor resigning in protest.

Ireland’s Mental Health Commission (MHC) published a report last year, that found children continue to be admitted to adult mental health facilities which are inappropriate to their needs.

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2019/04/14/children-in-living-hell-as-theyre-forced-to-stay-in-adult-mental-health-facilities-9200177/?ito=cbshare

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The History of Mental Health in the UK

In today’s day and age, many of us will suffer from mental health problems whether that be anxiety or depression and we can be guaranteed to meet with doctors who have clear understanding of our issues.

However, many years ago, those suffering from mental health problems have not always received the same level of care or even respect that we are used to today.

The term “mental health” was popularised in the 1900’s by physicians and former insane asylum patients. They wanted to reduce the stigma of mental illness as the term “illness” often resulted in prejudices against patients in asylums. It often resulted in those with mental health issues being segregated from those that were deemed well.

In 1948, the NHS found themselves responsible for at least 100 asylums that all had their own rules and treatments for their patients in their care.

The average asylum had populations in the thousands but it was not uncommon for some asylums such as Whittingham in Lancashire to have as many as 4,oo0 patients at a given time.

Those living in asylums often had to deal with cramped and dirty conditions where the treatment are considered barbaric for today’s standards. These treatments included electro-convulsive therapy and lobotomies. These treatments did work for some patients but they also painted a painful picture of a place where no one wanted to end up.

Sufferers would often be confined to padded cells and made to wear straitjackets and where manual labour was deemed as therapy but patients also got the chance to do some sports and get some fresh air. However, it did not take long for ministers to realise that a change was overdue.

In the early 1950’s, it was noted that around half of NHS beds were taken up by the “mentally deficient” and the spending money needed to care for them was getting too much. In West Yorkshire, it took over 35% of their total budget.

The large and infamous hospitals that many are familiar with today were built during the Victorian times and around this time of realisation, it was also made aware that many of the foundations for these buildings were crumbling and would cost far too much to repair.

A 1957 report from the Percy Commission (created in 1954 by the Conservative Government) called for mental health to be regarded in the same was as a physical illness.

By the mid to late 1950’s, hospitals had an open door policy and academics all over the UK were acknowledging that most people suffered with mental health issues to some degree at some point in their lives.

New and more effective drugs were also been created to keep up with the pace of positive change. Psychiatry were changing its punishing treatments for more positive ones.

Unfortunately, an inquiry was made in 1971 into Whittingham hospital which uncovered patient neglect and fraud. It was almost as if the positive changes that took place two decades earlier did not happen.

The 1983 Mental Health act was created and placed legal controls on certain treatments such as surgery and mood-altering drugs. Due to this act, people became more aware that those suffering from mental health problems were not doomed to a life of uncertainty but had the chance to recover and lead normal lives.

In 2000, a draft Mental Health Bill introduced compulsory treatment under community supervision. Those that had dangerous and severe personality disorders had been considered untreatable but were covered by proposals. It was not until 2007 that it became law.

Sadly, those with mental health issues today, especially young people, still get stigmatised. Luckily, charities and health acts are constantly being updated and continue to fight these unfair beliefs that often latch onto those who need help with their mental health and well-being.

Teens with Mental Health Issues are Rising in the US

Most teenagers living in the US are suffering from mental health problems and the numbers are increasing each year.

Anxiety and depression are on the rise for young people living in the States and many can see these issues within their peers.

There are other concerns that teenagers are not voicing issues with bullying and any issues that they may have bottled up which has been proven can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts.

Although teenagers have reported that pressure to do well in school, look a certain way to be deemed attractive on social media as well as other normal stresses of growing up plays a vital role in mental health, what causes these circumstances have yet to be nailed properly.

Just like the UK, the main problem with this topic is that it is not discussed as often as many would like it to be.

The right education would benefit the young on how to deal with their mental health and who they can speak to whenever they have any doubts about themselves or others around them.

Teenagers kept in temporary mental health units for over a year

More than half of young people have reported that they are staying in mental health units for longer than the recommended stay of six months.

According to campaigners and the young people’s parents, these long stays are damaging the mental health of young people further.

Psychiatric intensive care units (PICUs) are acute hospital wards which admit people who have reached crisis point. Patients may be suicidal, violent or experiencing psychotic episodes.

Ferndene hospital in Northumberland runs one of the only PICUs in the country with an outstanding rating from the regulator the Care and Quality Commission.

They are focusing on equipping young people with the skills they need and they hold meetings with everyone to ensure that the children who are there do not stay their longer than they need to.

An NHS spokesperson said: “At least 20 additional PICU beds have been commissioned, and while transformation won’t happen overnight, this work is starting to make a difference.”

Help ends abruptly at milestone birthday for young people

Thousands of young adults who are suffering from mental illnesses, find the help they are receiving suddenly stops at a significant birthday.

Child services that offer care and support for those needing extra help often end the moment the child reaches between the ages of 16 and 21 years old.

Those that have reached this age are often left to their own devices despite still requiring ongoing support and care for their mental well being. Those who do end up in adult care, however, often feel as though they are neglected and poorly looked after.

Numbers show as many as 75% of young people in the UK and just over 30% across Europe are considered to require further counselling and support for their mental health.

Young adults are feeling let down by the system

This can lead to many young individuals lacking in the confidence to move on with their lives by getting a job, applying to college or university or finding and maintaining relationships.

The experiences of a thousand young people leaving the care of child and adolescent mental health services (CAHM) and moving to adult mental health services (AHM) are being followed in several European countries which includes the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium and Italy.

The features of these stories are surprisingly similar:

  • Young people are being discharged at 18 and not given other options
  • They are having to persuade adult services that they need further support
  • They are having decisions being made about them, without them knowing
  • They are repeatedly being told that they are not considered ‘ill enough’ for further care or that they are now fine

The most common mental health problems that young people face are anxiety and depression, with girls who are 14 and above more likely to face these issues than boys.

Not being able to find help quickly enough has had tragic consequences. Nearly one in five deaths among 15 to 19 year olds are caused by self-inflicted wounds.

If these issues are left untreated the long-term risks for these young people can include: poor grades at school, higher risk of addictive behaviours, increase of violent tendencies and a higher risk of unemployment.

This can create stressful situations amongst the child’s parents who are left wondering what they can do to help while their child waits for professional care as the signs can be challenging to spot.

Robert Scullion, a Student Engagement Officer at City of Glasgow College believes that services should be improved and parents are important in getting help for their children.

He said: “People also need attention; young people often think they are in the world on their own and they may perceive that they have to have all the answers for everything. So just reassuring and say that it is okay not to know and it is okay to be upset. It is okay to feel confused, it is all normal.”

Young adults face different levels of independency and career paths and are often caught between two fairly different services, one that considers them as still part of a family group and one that considers them as adults and can be given advice without family members being present, unless given permission.

It has also been noted that young people often lack the understanding of adult services, feel insecure about moving from an area where they are familiar with and dread being in an unfamiliar system with unfamiliar people.

Teenagers do not get informed about the transmission between child and adult help centres

Transitions that do occur are often abrupt and poorly planned out and this can result in further confusion and this has been linked to a higher risk of disengagement from services and discontinuity of care.

There have been some positive steps forward to try and resolve the issue in many countries such as Germany which has created a “task-force” to help improve the care of young people between services.

In the UK, some universities have taken steps to help improve mental health in students after there was a concern about the high number of suicides at universities across the UK.

It is important to find out what works – and does not work- amongst young adults when it comes to their mental state which can help improve care in the future.

Scullion also added: “People nowadays live in a society where it is quite predominant for people to talk now about how we feel. Most people often think they are alone and it is only them that the problem is occurring for. They don’t realise there is a majority of folk that think the same, so once they start to realise that, it takes a lot of pressure off of them and allows them to see their lives differently.”

As it is estimated that 50% of mental health problems are established by the age of 14, it is an important area to be focusing on.

It is advised that parents of children who are waiting to seek professional help observe their children and note down any changes as they are often the ones that help start the process of getting the help their child needs.

Help ends abruptly at milestone birthday for young people

Teens are sleeping less and are more depressed

Young people are more likely to feel depressed and sleep less than 10 years ago, a new study suggests.

It also found that other issues such as drinking and smoking, often linked to mental health issues, are not as commonly in 14 year olds in 2015.

Young people who hurt themself rose over 10% and girls were more likely to harm themselves than that of boys.

Teenagers were also falling asleep later and then getting up earlier so many are not getting the recommended sleep of eight hours.

Anxiety in Young People Rising

A recent survey, conducted by YouGov, shows that 18% of young people do not believe life is worth living anymore.

An overwhelming pressure from social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter has said to be the cause of young people feeling low.

Rise in young people not feeling life is worth living due to pressure from social media platforms

In 2009, only 9% of 16-25 year olds thought that life was not worth living but this has now doubled to 18% and it is also estimated that a quarter that their life has a purpose, according to a YouGov survey, a charity that young people into education, work and training.

Nearly 60% of young people think that social media creates an “overwhelming pressure” to succeed.

However, there is some positive sides to this story as some young people enjoy using social media as it allows them to voice their thoughts and feelings about their generation and more than a quarter said it made them happy.