Headlines: September 3rd, 2008

Most health care professionals believe children should have a say in their mental health treatment, according to new research from the national charity YoungMinds. It found that 97 per cent of professionals, parents and young people who took part in a survey wanted children to have the chance to make their views heard.

In spite of that level of support, the chaity’s advisory panel says few children actually have any say in their treatment. The findings are published in the latest issue of its magazine.

It says because children and young people often have limited access to information they cannot make informed choices about their treatment although it argues that actively involving them would increase the likelihood that their treatment would succeed because it would meet the individual child’s needs.

Sarah Brennan, the chief executive of YoungMinds, said children needed access to information so they could make the best choices. “A good practitioner should discuss treatment options, side effects and what the treatment involves. Patients often don’t realise, for example, how time-consuming talking therapies can be. Being able to exercise choice empowers young people, gains their trust and cooperation and can be crucial to a treatments success.”

The poll of more than 150 professionals, 92 young people and 24 parents, is a follow up to the ‘Pushed Into The Shadows’ report published last year by YoungMinds and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner. It recommended that all young patients should be fully involved in their mental health care and should be given full informations about their treatment and medication.