Mental health problems among young people made worse by Government cuts

TOUGH economic times are being blamed for a huge increase in children and teenagers seeking help for mental health problems in Bolton.

Families struggling to cope with job losses, the recession, Government cuts and fewer opportunities for young people are part of the problem, according to a leading psychiatrist.

When Dr Ian Dufton started working at Royal Bolton Hospital 10 years ago, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) dealt with 360 referrals in one year.

Now, it receives between 95 and 115 every month and the figure is set to peak with 1,600 referrals in just 12 months.

Dr Dufton, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist and clinical lead, said: “The number of referrals has been steadily increasing over the past five years.

“It has ridiculously increased if you think of the 10-year period I’ve worked here.”

Dr Mark Bowers, consultant clinical psychologist, added: “We know it’s difficult times. We know families are finding it difficult, whatever the political parties say or don’t say.

“When adults are under financial stress, they are more likely to develop mental health difficulties themselves.”

This has an impact on their children. Dr Bowers said: “They run together. They tend to associate with each other.”

Dr Dufton added: “Life is different, their opportunities are different.

“We know the opportunities for young people with employment have changed.

“University attendance will change. The way that’s funded is changing and that will influence young people going or not going.

“These days, there is less optimism about the future.”

The most common referrals to CAMHS are children and young people with emotional difficulties including anxiety, depression and trauma.

They tend to be aged 14 to 16, including youngsters who are looked after by the local authority.

Dr Dufton said this age range is the “prime time for developing emotional disorders” as they can also be dealing with “family breakdown, school and academic challenges, becoming a woman or a man, having all those young person challenges”.

The next most prevalent are youngsters with developmental disorders, including autism, Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as others displaying challenging, aggressive and violent behaviour.

The most common age for these referrals are six to eight years old.

The service sees a smaller number of referrals including youngsters with eating disorders and difficulties such as experiencing psychosis, having hallucinations and hearing voices.

Other reasons they are seeing more youngsters include changes to other services which previously provided support, such as educational psychologists in schools, people being more aware of CAMHS and reduced stigma over accessing the service.

CAMHS is available for all ages, up to 18, but Dr Dufton said: “In the very early ages, it tends to be about focusing on the parents.

“Probably the youngest we tend to physically see are aged four to five.”

Those youngsters usually have developmental disorders, learning difficulties or are displaying challenging behaviour.

Dr Bowers added television programmes such as Channel 4’s Supernanny, which saw Jo Frost visit parents struggling with their children’s behaviour, also mean people are more aware help is available.

Speaking of the explosion of social networking, Dr Dufton said: “We are not really sure what the impact of technology and social networking is.

“What we tend to see is probably the wrong end if it.

“We tend to see people who might have got into difficulty, who might have experienced bullying, things being exposed about them, relationships through social networks going wrong.”

Dr Bowers, who has worked at the hospital for three years, said they also see the internet playing a role in cases of self-harm.

He said: “A lot more young people are self-harming when in crisis or stressed or in emotional difficulty. Predominantly girls.”

The psychologist said the internet and social networking sites can be places where youngsters stumble across, or seek out, dangerous so-called “coping methods”.

Dr Bowers added: “The first place they will go to is the internet, even before they might talk to a teacher or a parent.

“They will find some positive information but they will find some people talking about how they cope.

“Culturally, we are less inclined to accept distress, we want to change it. In hard times, people need something to manage their distress.”

Other ways people are seeking to do this is through substance and alcohol misuse.

Dr Dufton said: “Things have changed. If you go back 10 years, we are seeing more young people using cannabis now. Cannabis is common, alcohol is common.”

In the youngsters they see, use of cannabis impacts on their mood, motivation, mental health and can cause paranoia and hallucinations.

Comments (11)

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9:58am Mon 15 Oct 12

steveG says...

These problems will continue to get worse as we find names for more and more disorders.The only people to benefit would appear to be health professionals,who with the increase in disorders find the need for more "experts" is increased.
These problems will continue to get worse as we find names for more and more disorders.The only people to benefit would appear to be health professionals,who with the increase in disorders find the need for more "experts" is increased. steveG

10:28am Mon 15 Oct 12

berushka says...

Absolutely right SteveG. Justify your job by inventing unpronounceable names for disorders that ninety nine percent of the population already have. Most of these 'patients' come form homes and districts that are well known for their lack of social skills, lower mentality and lower education standards, so don't try and kid us that the whole population is in mental breakdown. The increases go back years, so why make the cutbacks the criminal? No reference is made to the hardships caused by the previous government's wild spending and subsequent collapse of the economy.

It must be remembered that psychiatrists get their 'knowledge' from reading books, and then try to impress everyone they have all the answers. Many of these so called experts that I know personally have severe psychological problems that they just cannot deal with.
Absolutely right SteveG. Justify your job by inventing unpronounceable names for disorders that ninety nine percent of the population already have. Most of these 'patients' come form homes and districts that are well known for their lack of social skills, lower mentality and lower education standards, so don't try and kid us that the whole population is in mental breakdown. The increases go back years, so why make the cutbacks the criminal? No reference is made to the hardships caused by the previous government's wild spending and subsequent collapse of the economy. It must be remembered that psychiatrists get their 'knowledge' from reading books, and then try to impress everyone they have all the answers. Many of these so called experts that I know personally have severe psychological problems that they just cannot deal with. berushka

1:19pm Mon 15 Oct 12

lindlandl says...

This was not a politically motivated article. It gave all sorts of reasons for the higher prevalence of mental health problems including 'Government cuts', but gave no judgement as to the necessity or otherwise of these. There was absolutely no suggestion that the whole population is in 'mental breakdown' as you put it, neither could I find any 'disorders' with 'unpronounceable names' nor any 'invented' ones. Are you trying to say that youngsters who have less social skills and/or lower intellectual capabilities and lower educational standards should be denied help because they live in certain districts? You may well be correct in saying that there has always been a much higher level of intervention in certain areas, but I think that the psychiatrist and psychologists were trying to highlight that this is much more widespread now with a variety of reasons for this, and with economic factors obviously adversely affecting a much wider range of people.

The last time I looked you needed to train as a medical doctor to become a psychiatrist, followed by a minimum of 2 years exclusively hands on training specifically in psychiatry, followed by several years more training to become a consultant psychiatrist, after which you can specialise in a particular field such as adolescent mental health. I would therefore suggest that Dr Dufton as a 'consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist and clinical lead' is, indeed, an expert rather than a 'so called expert'.

I am sorry to hear that you you have several personal acquaintances with severe psychological problems, but how refreshing to hear that they overcame their 'homes and districts' lack of social skills, 'low mentalities' etc and all managed to climb the dizzy heights to qualify as psychiatrists! After all, according to you the 'vast majority' of people with such problems come from such circumstances!
This was not a politically motivated article. It gave all sorts of reasons for the higher prevalence of mental health problems including 'Government cuts', but gave no judgement as to the necessity or otherwise of these. There was absolutely no suggestion that the whole population is in 'mental breakdown' as you put it, neither could I find any 'disorders' with 'unpronounceable names' nor any 'invented' ones. Are you trying to say that youngsters who have less social skills and/or lower intellectual capabilities and lower educational standards should be denied help because they live in certain districts? You may well be correct in saying that there has always been a much higher level of intervention in certain areas, but I think that the psychiatrist and psychologists were trying to highlight that this is much more widespread now with a variety of reasons for this, and with economic factors obviously adversely affecting a much wider range of people. The last time I looked you needed to train as a medical doctor to become a psychiatrist, followed by a minimum of 2 years exclusively hands on training specifically in psychiatry, followed by several years more training to become a consultant psychiatrist, after which you can specialise in a particular field such as adolescent mental health. I would therefore suggest that Dr Dufton as a 'consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist and clinical lead' is, indeed, an expert rather than a 'so called expert'. I am sorry to hear that you you have several personal acquaintances with severe psychological problems, but how refreshing to hear that they overcame their 'homes and districts' lack of social skills, 'low mentalities' etc and all managed to climb the dizzy heights to qualify as psychiatrists! After all, according to you the 'vast majority' of people with such problems come from such circumstances! lindlandl

5:27pm Mon 15 Oct 12

steveG says...

Lifes a bummer. Sometimes,you have ups,sometimes you have downs.
These fluctuations can not usually be explained,rationalis
ed or satisfactorily solved.
There are some people who try to explain lifes fluctuations to the rest and whilst these people continue to entertain us we should play along.
Lifes a bummer. Sometimes,you have ups,sometimes you have downs. These fluctuations can not usually be explained,rationalis ed or satisfactorily solved. There are some people who try to explain lifes fluctuations to the rest and whilst these people continue to entertain us we should play along. steveG

8:02pm Mon 15 Oct 12

lootoo says...

As a professional who works closely with CAMHS and regularly refers young people to them,I absolutely support Ian Duftons views on cutbacks. The early intervention of keyworkers, working with families is and was vital in preventing young people and children reaching crisis point. The cutbacks have meant 100's of workers in Bolton alone that were employed to help prevent children getting to the point of needing a CAMHs referral, have lost their jobs. Vitually all the charity pots that paid for early intervention have been cut by the government in what is a 'cost saving enterprise' and we will pay tenfold as a society. This is the start of a tsunami of need that is not being dealt with and the local council is on its knees trying to support vulnerable people with barely any staff and an explosion of difficulties
As a professional who works closely with CAMHS and regularly refers young people to them,I absolutely support Ian Duftons views on cutbacks. The early intervention of keyworkers, working with families is and was vital in preventing young people and children reaching crisis point. The cutbacks have meant 100's of workers in Bolton alone that were employed to help prevent children getting to the point of needing a CAMHs referral, have lost their jobs. Vitually all the charity pots that paid for early intervention have been cut by the government in what is a 'cost saving enterprise' and we will pay tenfold as a society. This is the start of a tsunami of need that is not being dealt with and the local council is on its knees trying to support vulnerable people with barely any staff and an explosion of difficulties lootoo

9:32pm Mon 15 Oct 12

SmoggyDiasboro says...

Couldn't agree more lindlandl.

An interesting article spoiled by an over-enthusiastic headline writer / sub-editor.

It won't however stop you incurring the wrath of the tea-party activists and UNISON - so one point for them specifically. The problem is that the public sector unions need to start helping prioritisation. What is it that they want? If they have particular feelings about issues they need to come up with the appropriate savings elsewhere.

What hasn't been realised that the whole country, not just Bolton Royal Foundation Trust is in serious financial difficulty. I know this has been going on for 3 years now - but it's the truth. We are still BORROWING £125 billion per year to fund public expenditure.

If CAMHS needs more money, come up with serious money savings elsewhere (& not just the ridiculous bankers' bonus tax which woudl raise £0) and make a case for this as a priority service above many others.

It's harsh, but it's going to be very difficult for the next 10 years at least. The public sector has overdrawn on the available funds and special case pleading will not help. (Mind - idiotic decisions such as reducing the top rate of tax to 45% and expecting everyone else to cough up more is equally inane).

Lindlandl - sorry to corrupt your purely factual and apolitical post
Couldn't agree more lindlandl. An interesting article spoiled by an over-enthusiastic headline writer / sub-editor. It won't however stop you incurring the wrath of the tea-party activists and UNISON - so one point for them specifically. The problem is that the public sector unions need to start helping prioritisation. What is it that they want? If they have particular feelings about issues they need to come up with the appropriate savings elsewhere. What hasn't been realised that the whole country, not just Bolton Royal Foundation Trust is in serious financial difficulty. I know this has been going on for 3 years now - but it's the truth. We are still BORROWING £125 billion per year to fund public expenditure. If CAMHS needs more money, come up with serious money savings elsewhere (& not just the ridiculous bankers' bonus tax which woudl raise £0) and make a case for this as a priority service above many others. It's harsh, but it's going to be very difficult for the next 10 years at least. The public sector has overdrawn on the available funds and special case pleading will not help. (Mind - idiotic decisions such as reducing the top rate of tax to 45% and expecting everyone else to cough up more is equally inane). Lindlandl - sorry to corrupt your purely factual and apolitical post SmoggyDiasboro

9:58pm Mon 15 Oct 12

Citizen Cane says...

Maybe these mental health "professionals" should look at the prevalence of mental health issues in Africa. They are much lower. It is absolute tosh to link definitively mental helath issues with recession aka lower living standards - pre-industrial Britaonm must have been over-run with depressives, not.

The truth, dear warped "professionals", is that you get what you look for. You should know that.

The whole commentary from the doctor is a falsehood since it is also true that there is no defined frontier between between a mental health issue (and financial stress) and the absence of one, nor is there a reliable test for one. Do enough googling and any rational individual can easily fake a mental health issue and convince Camhs.
Maybe these mental health "professionals" should look at the prevalence of mental health issues in Africa. They are much lower. It is absolute tosh to link definitively mental helath issues with recession aka lower living standards - pre-industrial Britaonm must have been over-run with depressives, not. The truth, dear warped "professionals", is that you get what you look for. You should know that. The whole commentary from the doctor is a falsehood since it is also true that there is no defined frontier between between a mental health issue (and financial stress) and the absence of one, nor is there a reliable test for one. Do enough googling and any rational individual can easily fake a mental health issue and convince Camhs. Citizen Cane

2:14am Tue 16 Oct 12

lindlandl says...

Citizen Cane wrote:
Maybe these mental health "professionals" should look at the prevalence of mental health issues in Africa. They are much lower. It is absolute tosh to link definitively mental helath issues with recession aka lower living standards - pre-industrial Britaonm must have been over-run with depressives, not.

The truth, dear warped "professionals", is that you get what you look for. You should know that.

The whole commentary from the doctor is a falsehood since it is also true that there is no defined frontier between between a mental health issue (and financial stress) and the absence of one, nor is there a reliable test for one. Do enough googling and any rational individual can easily fake a mental health issue and convince Camhs.
Someone should certainly look at the prevalence of mental health issues in Africa. Indeed the World Health Organisation believes it is worryingly high but the priority is very low and in some areas non-existent (perhaps understandable when health resources are so meagre that children are still dying of preventable diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea and malnutrition and the leading cause of death amongst 15 to 19 year old girls is complications of pregnancy and childbirth). In an area where 18 under 15 year olds die for every one in this country I hardly think that mental wellbeing is going to be at the top of the list of health considerations. Still if no-one is diagnosing it, it doesn't exist. I believe Africa had and perhaps still has issues with acknowledging the existence and prevalence of HIV and AIDS too, but it hasn't stopped millions of people dying from it.

It's interesting how you can dismiss psychiatrists and psychologists and their education, specialised training and experience out of hand (who are working in the here and now with real individuals) and yet you somehow have the capability to to make an assessment of the mental health of pre-industrial Britain! I also think that mental health issues extend a little beyond depression. It is a relief to know, however, that schizophrenia, autism, depression, psychosis, drug and alcohol abuse, severe anxiety, self harm, eating disorders, etc etc etc do not exist and are a figment of these Charlatans' imaginations. I'm not so sure, though, that it will give much comfort for the people who actually suffer from them.

Do you honestly believe that all people, let alone youngsters, are perfectly well adjusted individuals who, for no apparent reason, spend their time faking illnesses that don't exist in the first place?

Do you also believe that if you cannot diagnose a mental health problem definitively with a blood test/brain scan or such like that it doesn't exist?

If you have answered yes to either of the above I think I can confirm from direct observation that mental health problems are not the myth of charlatans!
[quote][p][bold]Citizen Cane[/bold] wrote: Maybe these mental health "professionals" should look at the prevalence of mental health issues in Africa. They are much lower. It is absolute tosh to link definitively mental helath issues with recession aka lower living standards - pre-industrial Britaonm must have been over-run with depressives, not. The truth, dear warped "professionals", is that you get what you look for. You should know that. The whole commentary from the doctor is a falsehood since it is also true that there is no defined frontier between between a mental health issue (and financial stress) and the absence of one, nor is there a reliable test for one. Do enough googling and any rational individual can easily fake a mental health issue and convince Camhs.[/p][/quote]Someone should certainly look at the prevalence of mental health issues in Africa. Indeed the World Health Organisation believes it is worryingly high but the priority is very low and in some areas non-existent (perhaps understandable when health resources are so meagre that children are still dying of preventable diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea and malnutrition and the leading cause of death amongst 15 to 19 year old girls is complications of pregnancy and childbirth). In an area where 18 under 15 year olds die for every one in this country I hardly think that mental wellbeing is going to be at the top of the list of health considerations. Still if no-one is diagnosing it, it doesn't exist. I believe Africa had and perhaps still has issues with acknowledging the existence and prevalence of HIV and AIDS too, but it hasn't stopped millions of people dying from it. It's interesting how you can dismiss psychiatrists and psychologists and their education, specialised training and experience out of hand (who are working in the here and now with real individuals) and yet you somehow have the capability to to make an assessment of the mental health of pre-industrial Britain! I also think that mental health issues extend a little beyond depression. It is a relief to know, however, that schizophrenia, autism, depression, psychosis, drug and alcohol abuse, severe anxiety, self harm, eating disorders, etc etc etc do not exist and are a figment of these Charlatans' imaginations. I'm not so sure, though, that it will give much comfort for the people who actually suffer from them. Do you honestly believe that all people, let alone youngsters, are perfectly well adjusted individuals who, for no apparent reason, spend their time faking illnesses that don't exist in the first place? Do you also believe that if you cannot diagnose a mental health problem definitively with a blood test/brain scan or such like that it doesn't exist? If you have answered yes to either of the above I think I can confirm from direct observation that mental health problems are not the myth of charlatans! lindlandl

2:33am Tue 16 Oct 12

lindlandl says...

SmoggyDiasboro wrote:
Couldn't agree more lindlandl.

An interesting article spoiled by an over-enthusiastic headline writer / sub-editor.

It won't however stop you incurring the wrath of the tea-party activists and UNISON - so one point for them specifically. The problem is that the public sector unions need to start helping prioritisation. What is it that they want? If they have particular feelings about issues they need to come up with the appropriate savings elsewhere.

What hasn't been realised that the whole country, not just Bolton Royal Foundation Trust is in serious financial difficulty. I know this has been going on for 3 years now - but it's the truth. We are still BORROWING £125 billion per year to fund public expenditure.

If CAMHS needs more money, come up with serious money savings elsewhere (& not just the ridiculous bankers' bonus tax which woudl raise £0) and make a case for this as a priority service above many others.

It's harsh, but it's going to be very difficult for the next 10 years at least. The public sector has overdrawn on the available funds and special case pleading will not help. (Mind - idiotic decisions such as reducing the top rate of tax to 45% and expecting everyone else to cough up more is equally inane).

Lindlandl - sorry to corrupt your purely factual and apolitical post
Too right! As is all too often the case, the headline did not reflect the contents of the article, but why should that matter, as you can see some of the comments don't either! I found your comments really interesting and enlightening, likewise lootoo's, though I think the reduction of top rate tax would not seem idiotic to those who will benefit from it, not least Dave and George.
[quote][p][bold]SmoggyDiasboro[/bold] wrote: Couldn't agree more lindlandl. An interesting article spoiled by an over-enthusiastic headline writer / sub-editor. It won't however stop you incurring the wrath of the tea-party activists and UNISON - so one point for them specifically. The problem is that the public sector unions need to start helping prioritisation. What is it that they want? If they have particular feelings about issues they need to come up with the appropriate savings elsewhere. What hasn't been realised that the whole country, not just Bolton Royal Foundation Trust is in serious financial difficulty. I know this has been going on for 3 years now - but it's the truth. We are still BORROWING £125 billion per year to fund public expenditure. If CAMHS needs more money, come up with serious money savings elsewhere (& not just the ridiculous bankers' bonus tax which woudl raise £0) and make a case for this as a priority service above many others. It's harsh, but it's going to be very difficult for the next 10 years at least. The public sector has overdrawn on the available funds and special case pleading will not help. (Mind - idiotic decisions such as reducing the top rate of tax to 45% and expecting everyone else to cough up more is equally inane). Lindlandl - sorry to corrupt your purely factual and apolitical post[/p][/quote]Too right! As is all too often the case, the headline did not reflect the contents of the article, but why should that matter, as you can see some of the comments don't either! I found your comments really interesting and enlightening, likewise lootoo's, though I think the reduction of top rate tax would not seem idiotic to those who will benefit from it, not least Dave and George. lindlandl

6:01am Tue 16 Oct 12

oftbewildered2 says...

Why blame the recession? We have had recessions before without all this hoo-ha blaming it for mental health problems. there are other factorr involved as well - such as the dysfunctional stratas of society we have nurtured over the years. The government is partly to blame, along with the Office of Political Correctness
Why blame the recession? We have had recessions before without all this hoo-ha blaming it for mental health problems. there are other factorr involved as well - such as the dysfunctional stratas of society we have nurtured over the years. The government is partly to blame, along with the Office of Political Correctness oftbewildered2

3:23pm Tue 16 Oct 12

lindlandl says...

oftbewildered2 wrote:
Why blame the recession? We have had recessions before without all this hoo-ha blaming it for mental health problems. there are other factorr involved as well - such as the dysfunctional stratas of society we have nurtured over the years. The government is partly to blame, along with the Office of Political Correctness
Did you actually read the article?
[quote][p][bold]oftbewildered2[/bold] wrote: Why blame the recession? We have had recessions before without all this hoo-ha blaming it for mental health problems. there are other factorr involved as well - such as the dysfunctional stratas of society we have nurtured over the years. The government is partly to blame, along with the Office of Political Correctness[/p][/quote]Did you actually read the article? lindlandl

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