Bullied children, anxiety, anti-depressants and the risk of medicalising childhood

Child mental health crisis ‘worse than suspected’

” We need to ask ourselves what is causing mental health problems in the first place. Because it’s my belief that many of these struggles could be avoided if we get our approach right. And if we don’t we’re giving away with one hand and taking away with the other. And we run the risk of medicalising childhood.

If a child is being bullied and they have the symptoms of depression because they are being bullied, what they need is for the bullying to stop. They need to feel safe again. They don’t necessarily need anti-depressants or therapy.

The question we should be asking ourselves is what are the emotional and mental health needs of all children and are they being met in our schools?

At one end of the scale we’ve got four-year-olds being tested, at the other end of the scale we’ve got teenagers leaving school and facing the prospect of leaving university with record amounts of debt. Anxiety is the fastest growing illness in under 21s. These things are not a coincidence.”

Natasha Devon, child mental health specialist appointed by the Government. Schoolyard bully image by Thomas Ricker.

Press releases
  • Bullied children are being wrongly ‘medicalised’, expert warns, telegraph, 28 APRIL 2016.
  • Child mental health crisis ‘worse than suspected’, the guardian, 29 April 2016.
  • Children are being wrongly prescribed anti-depressants when they just need rescuing from bullies warns schools’ mental health tsar, daily mail, 29 April 2016.
  • Stop giving bullied children anti-depressants, warns Government adviser, independent, 29 April 2016

2 thoughts on “Bullied children, anxiety, anti-depressants and the risk of medicalising childhood”

  1. What I do find exciting is the number of children who somehow gain the strength to overcome the bullies and make amazing contributions to society. I’m not disagreeing that bullying must be stopped. It’s people like you who stand up and make people think and hopefully at least sometimes you will find that you are not just preaching to the converted and you will make someone change their behaviour.

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