Report review: What good could look like in psychological services for young people

| Helen Sharp

Title: What good could look like in integrated psychological services for children, young people and their families

Published by: The British Psychological Society

Published: Summer 2015

What we need and what children and young people deserve, is change.

We don’t usually cover the more academic reports, but this one is very accessible and provides an excellent ‘summary’ of what many people within the child and adolescent mental health sector are coming to realise. This paper is a prelude to the development of a vision for the future of psychological care and how it can be achieved; in fact the authors are very keen to hear from you if you’re interested in being a part of this.

The report raises some interesting points which will be relevant to professionals and communities not directly involved in psychological services:

  • The need to change our understanding of a mental health intervention and how they should be delivered;
  • The untapped potential among those closest to children and young people – parents, schools, youth workers, residential care staff;
  • The call for young people and families to help themselves and others;
  • The push for interventions to address poverty and inequality;
  • For services to be delivered through collaboration – shared vision and values, infrastructure and resources.

Fundamentally, this report introduces us to the idea of a ‘community psychology’ where the focus is not on changing individuals, although this does occur, but on transforming social conditions and contexts to enable better mental health and well-being. This is the first time I have heard about this concept and it resonates strongly with many of the values and vision of the projects and reports we champion.

A community psychology supports interventions which aim to actively raise our consciousness or awareness of links between social justice and individual/group distress and generates community-led action for social change. Sound familiar?

The report is peppered with some good case studies and some fresh thinking for a sector often dogged by clinical influence and co-production is mentioned a number of times. For those pioneers trying to move these services away from traditional one-to-one treatment, this should be a helpful narrative.

It takes an average of 10 years for a child who develops a mental health issue to get the help they need.

Click here to read the report in full.

Photo by Andre Hunter 

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