Education And Debate

Commentary: child mental health services are not medical empires

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 15 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:814
  1. Alyson Hall, head of child mental health servicea
  1. a Tower Hamlets Healthcare Trust Emmanuel Miller Centre London E14 8HQ


    As child mental health clinics round the country develop longer and longer waiting lists it is tempting to suggest ways of helping children in other settings so that overextended specialist staff can concentrate on specific complex disorders. If additional resources were made available to local authorities so that children with conduct disorder could receive input to improve their behaviour early in childhood, professionals, parents of affected children, and society as a whole would be delighted. Specialist education staff could help teachers in managing children more effectively using behavioural programmes in mainstream classes or in small groups. Social workers might be able to provide family therapy and behaviour therapy to help parents manage behaviour effectively rather than concentrating on child protection work, accommodating children, or programmes for delinquents. This preventive rather than palliative approach is advocated by the Department of Health.1 …

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