Mental Health Care for Children and Young People in Children’s Homes
NARRATIVE AROUND THE CHILD
We need to be mindful about the narrative that has developed around the subject of children’s mental health in recent years (‘children’ includes young people up to 18). The story about children’s psychological and behavioural problems has shifted over time. Human beings are natural story-tellers. The stories we tell ourselves and others has a powerful impact on the way we construe and understand problems. We are passing through an era in which children’s psychological problems are couched within a ‘medical’ framework. This narrative has important implications. It implies that there is something inherently ‘wrong’ with the child (i.e. that the problem is located within the child). Consequently, solutions focus on ways to change the child, primarily through the use of pharmacological interventions. Whilst there is certainly a place for medication in the treatment of some child mental health disorders, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of medication during the past couple of decades.