Young people, mental health and child psychotherapy
Child and adolescent psychotherapists are trained to notice the things young people communicate through different ways, not just through speaking. Sometimes this is through their behaviour. It can take time to work out what it is that needs to be said and how to say it.
Recently, we asked young people for their opionions on what children and young people need to thrive. Here are some of their thoughts:
When I think others disapprove of me or misunderstand me, I say, “don’t judge me”, but I’ve spoken to friends about this and they feel the same, but also "rushed" as well judged. We have this feeling that we’re constantly being watched and rated.
Recently I was asked a question I thought I knew the answer to but rather than take my time to respond, I felt under pressure and hurried. That’s when I realised that I’d been rushed pretty much all my life, and as a consequence, I feel fake. I have learned what to say to scrape through and to fit in - but I have never developed the skill to work things out for myself. Most of my conversation then, feels like it’s not really me. When I was younger, I used to take my time to think things through, but it was so hard. By the time I knew what I wanted to say, my teacher had moved on and people weren’t interested in my response any more.
I want people to know what growing up has been like for me – being rushed and having to please and copy others, so that no-one will discover that I feel different and more lost and confused with each day. I don’t want to risk feeling stupid by saying I don’t understand, but I am becoming more anxious and depressed because I don’t have the confidence to face people.
Maybe if we could all have more time to work things out, we could develop the confidence to answer more authentically but we would also learn to ask the right questions, questions which would help us understand the world and our place in it.
Sharing feelings and experiences
Some young people who have experienced depression or anxiety have come up with these strategies which helped them - they have shared their thoughts so that other young people can benefit from them.
This CBBC film uses creative expression to describe the experience of young people who care for their parents:
New films on Depression
Nick Midgley, an ACP member and child and adolescent psychotherapist, has worked with a group of young people who had been referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), plus their parents and a small team of film-makers, to make two short films. One is an animation about young people's experience of depression and of therapy, and the second is the parents' perspective on having a child suffering from depression and seeking professional help. There's also a third short 'behind the scenes' film, which will give you more of an insight into the process of how the films were made.
Facing Shadows - Behind the Scenes:
Journey Through the Shadows