2 ‘My child won’t go to school’
In the previous section you were presented with data that reinforce a likely increase in the proportion of children and young people experiencing mental health problems across time. Although most children and young people remain well, the notable increases in mental health problems coupled with issues associated with accessing CAMHS are a concern. Referring to the situation as a ‘crisis’ is therefore not really alarmist and may be useful in terms of advocating for further resources to help support the mental health of children and young people.
It is important to address mental health problems in children and young people as early onset problems often persist well into adulthood (Thompson et al., 2021). Common mental health problems for children and young people can span emotional symptoms, conduct or behavioural problems, hyperactivity-inattention and peer relationship problems, or any combination of these. An increasingly prominent issue post COVID-19 is school refusal (a reluctance or refusal of a child or young person to attend school which results in prolonged absences (Berg, 1997)). You will explore this in more detail through the fictional case study of Lily.