Mental health needs of looked after young people toolkit


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An introduction to the mental health needs of Looked After Young People.

YoungMinds supports and informs professionals who work with children or young people, whether through paid employment or voluntary work. We are the UK’s leading provider of training on children’s mental health and wellbeing.

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Mental health needs of looked after young people toolkit

  1. 1. Introduction to the mental healthneeds of Looked After Young People Roger Catchpole Charlotte Levene
  2. 2. Mental health: A definition ‘the strength and capacity of our minds to grow and develop, to be able to overcome difficulties and challenges and to make the most of our abilities and opportunities’YoungMinds 2006
  3. 3. Child Mental Health• A capacity to enter into, and sustain, mutually satisfying and sustaining personal relationships• Continuing progression of psychological development• An ability to play and to learn so that attainments are appropriate for age and intellectual level• A developing moral sense of right and wrong• A degree of psychological distress and maladaptive behaviour within normal limits for the child’s age and context
  4. 4. Problems & DisordersMental health problem A disturbance of function in one area of; relationships, mood, behaviour or development, of sufficient severity to require professional intervention.Mental disorder A severe problem (commonly persistent) or the co- occurrence of a number of problems, usually in the presence of several risk factors
  5. 5. A bio-psycho-social model NATURE (what we are born with) NURTURE (what we EVENTS grow up with)(what happens to us)
  6. 6. Prevalence among children Mental or aged 5 – 15 in the UK psychiatric disorderRisk factors Mental health 1.5but no obvious problems million 30,000 orproblems now 3 million or or 10% 0.2% 20% Severe disorder or mental illness
  7. 7. What are risk factors? Conditions, events or circumstances that are known to be associated with emotional or behavioural disorders and may increase the likelihood of such difficulties• Risk is cumulative• Risk is not causal but can predispose children to mental health problems
  8. 8. Predisposing factors - child• Genetic influences• Low IQ and learning disability• Specific developmental delay• Communication difficulty• Difficult temperament• Physical illness, especially if chronic and/or neurological• Academic failure• Low self-esteem
  9. 9. Predisposing factors - family• Overt parental conflict• Family breakdown• Inconsistent or unclear discipline• Hostile and rejecting relationships• Failure to adapt to childs changing developmental needs• Abuse - physical, sexual and/or emotional• Parental criminality, alcoholism & personality disorder• Parental psychiatric illness• Death & loss - including loss of friendships
  10. 10. Predisposing factors - environment• Socio-economic disadvantage• Homelessness• Disaster• Discrimination• Other significant life events
  11. 11. resilience• Normal development under difficult circumstances (M Rutter)• The human capacity to face, overcome and ultimately be strengthened and even transformed by life’s adversities and challenges ..a complex relationship of psychological inner strengths and environmental social supports (O.S. Masten)• Bouncebackability (I Dowie)
  12. 12. Finding Resilience in Me Think of a time in your life when you have struggled to cope with emotional difficulties• What did you think?• How did you feel?• What actions did you take?
  13. 13. Finding Resilience in me• Talk to family or friends • Peer support• Sleep • Positive feedback• Eat • Retail therapy• Walk away, take time out • Chocolate• Counselling • Self expression• Educate self about situation • Diary writing• Laugh • Spend time with animals• Throw self into new stuff • Take time for yourself• Seek company – or solitude • Spirituality• Realise you have choices • Exercise• Use own skills positively • Focus on work• Relate to past experience • Meditation• Break into manageable bits • Medication
  14. 14. Resilience in the child• being female• secure attachment experience• an outgoing temperament as an infant• good communication skills, sociability• planner, belief in control• humour• problem solving skills, positive attitude• experience of success and achievement• religious faith• capacity to reflect
  15. 15. Resilience in families• At least one good parent-child relationship• Affection• Clear, firm consistent discipline• Support for education• Supportive long term relationship/absence of severe discord
  16. 16. Resilience in communities• Wide supportive network• Good housing• High standard of living• High morale school with positive policies for behaviour, attitudes and anti-bullying• Schools with strong academic and non-academic opportunities• Range of sport/leisure activities• Anti-discriminatory practice
  17. 17. 7 ‘learnable’ skills of resilienceEmotional awareness or regulation Ability to identify what you are feeling and manage feelings appropriatelyImpulse control Ability to tolerate ambiguity and not rush decision makingOptimism Optimistic explanatory style - wed to realityCausal analysis Ability to view difficulties from a number of perspectives, and consider many factorsEmpathy Ability to read and understand the emotions of others. Helps build relationships with others and gives social supportSelf-efficacy Confidence in your ability to solve problems - involves knowing your strengths and weaknessesReaching Out Being prepared to take appropriate risk - a willingness to try things and view failure as part of life.