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Blame culture and lack of access hinders youth mental health treatment

Ease of access to appointments and a blame culture are preventing children and young people from receiving help
Child mental health services

Ease of access to appointments and a blame culture are preventing children and young people from obtaining help with mental health issues, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University of Reading looked at previous qualitative and quantitative studies from around the world to produce an overall picture of the most common boundaries to mental healthcare for children and young people.

The study found one of the most commonly raised issues was negative attitudes towards parents; this appeared in nearly half of the qualitative papers reviewed (46%).

A feeling of parents being dismissed or blamed by professionals was similarly highlighted in 42% of papers.

Other commonly cited barriers included not knowing where or how to seek help, and long waiting times to access services.

Lack of help

Lead author of the research Tessa Reardon

Ease of access to appointments and a blame culture are preventing children and young people from obtaining help with mental health issues, a new study suggests.


Picture: iStock

Researchers at the University of Reading looked at previous qualitative and quantitative studies from around the world to produce an overall picture of the most common boundaries to mental healthcare for children and young people.

The study found one of the most commonly raised issues was negative attitudes towards parents; this appeared in nearly half of the qualitative papers reviewed (46%).

A feeling of parents being dismissed or blamed by professionals was similarly highlighted in 42% of papers.

Other commonly cited barriers included not knowing where or how to seek help, and long waiting times to access services.

Lack of help

Lead author of the research Tessa Reardon said: 'Growing numbers of children and young people experience mental health problems, but only a small number of these receive professional help.

'Our findings show that, as well as ensuring there are sufficient child mental health services available, awareness needs to be raised about the services that are available to families. It can be hard for parents to know when it is okay to ask for help, and how they can get support for their child.'


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