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Introduction to adolescent mental health
Introduction to adolescent mental health

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2 Talking therapies

Mental health campaigns such as ‘#oktotalk’, ‘#Take20’ and ‘#TimeToTalk day’ reinforce the idea that talking about mental health is a positive step in accessing help and improving wellbeing. You will also recall one of the parents introduced in Session 4, talked about how therapy proved exceptionally helpful for her daughter in dealing with depression and anxiety. As the name might suggest, ‘talking therapies’ harness the healing power of talking and being listened to, helping someone to improve their mental health. They usually involve a trained therapist who can help the young person to manage and respond to their feelings of distress. Importantly, talking therapies also offer young people strategies for changing the way they think about their feelings and their responses to events. This can help them to develop good practices for the future and help them to learn vital life skills. It is possible to access NHS psychological therapies service directly (IAPT) without a referral from a GP.

Talking therapies take many forms and the key thing to note is that some talking therapies may suit some type of problem and individual more than others. The experience of talking therapies is highly personal and it can take time to find the most helpful approach. The main talking therapy recommended for adolescents is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT. CBT is accepted as an effective first-line treatment in adolescent mental health (Halder and Mohato, 2019).