Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Nature of the Work
Working as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
is a fantastic opportunity to make a difference to the young people
of the next generation. It is a fun and challenging specialty
which has seen tremendous developments over the last two decades
and is continuing to make great strides forward.
Working with young people means that early
intervention at this critical period is possible with the potential
for making a lifelong difference to those being seen.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry combines
the rigours and science of medicine, with the art and creativity of
therapy. The ability to advocate for young people and improve
public mental health, both add dimensions to the work that mean the
possibilities are bountiful.
Working in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is a specialty
within psychiatry working with people up to the age of 18, and
their families. Working in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is
both varied and rewarding. There are many approaches to
treatment, ranging from cognitive behavioural therapy to family
therapy. Medication and admission to an inpatient unit may
occasionally be used, but this is less frequent than for adult
mental health services.
The first decade of this century saw a real
focus on child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) both
in terms of policy and resources. The shift, backed up by
increasing evidence of the importance and effectiveness of CAMHS,
has been really welcomed.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists believe in
the importance of family and community and this is reflected in
service provision. The work emphasises a multidisciplinary
and multi-agency approach. This means collaborating with
colleagues with skills in different areas, or with partners from
other organisations such as schools, social services, hospitals, or
the police. Consultation with other agencies is an
important part of the work, to ensure integration of interventions
at all levels.
Most interventions involve talking to children
and young people and their families to gain an understanding of
difficulties and to find a way forward, within a child development
Being part of a wider community of
professionals involves liaising with multi agency networks to
improve care for young people.
A good understanding of legal frameworks
is also important, since Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists may
need to intervene by suggesting a particular care arrangement,
educational provision or ensuring the safety of young people
through legal means.
There are no formal General Medical Council
recognised subspecialties within Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry. However there are a number of growing special
interest areas including the following: -
- Infant mental health
- Learning disability
- Eating disorders
- Substance misuse
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