Children and young people’s mental health

Date04 June 2020
Publication Date04 June 2020
AuthorWoody Caan
SubjectHealth & social care,Mental health,Public mental health
Book review
Children and Young Peoples
Mental Health
Edited by Louise Theodosiou, Pooky
Knightsmith, Paula Lavis and Sue Bailey
Shoreham by Sea
ISBN 978-1-912755-40-0
Review DOI
It is rare for beginners, in any fieldof
mental health,to have an introductory
text written by experts.Over 50
authors, from a varietyof disciplines
and settings, havecontributed to this
outstandingbook. Its editors have
ensured it is both accessibleand
relevant to a broad spectrumof
readers, acrossthe Children & Young
People’s Mental HealthCoalition.
This book addresses both specific
clinical conditions (such as bipolar
disorder, eating disorders or autism)
and behavioural problems (such as self-
harm, internet gaming or drug use) in
eminently practical terms. An unusual
strength is the way it covers both
common childhood settings (like
schools) and socially excluded children
(like children in care or in the criminal
justice system). The needs of both
professionals who work in challenging
environments and the needs of family
carers are considered, alongside
clinical issues in childhood.
Developmental trajectories are
considered (for example a young
person’s transition to adult services).
I was particularly impressed that this
book places the development of
“children and young people mental
health services in context” within wider
policy developments, which is later on
essential to engaging with “the legacy of
different service histories” and the
“physical health of children and young
people with mental health problems”.
That can underpin future Equally Well
initiatives on inequalities (see: https://
With a Foreword by the Children’s
Commissioner for England (Anne
Longfield and with the past Chair of the
Academy of Medical Royal Colleges as
an Editor (Sue Bailey) it is no surprise
that the book’s policy framework is so
clear meeting a longstanding priority
for this Journal (Caan and Jenkins,
2008). There are clear principles
behind their vision of commissioning
and delivering children and young
people’s services to “build resilience,
promote good mental health and
wellbeing” alongside “prevention and
early intervention”.
I hope this book runs to further editions.
These could address a weakness in its
current content: the authors are all based
in Britain (mainly England) and the
evidence-base is rather insular. There
are many lessons that could be learned
from international studies, for example
from WHO (Rimpela et al, 2013).
Woody Caan
Woody Caan is based at RSPH,
Duxford, UK
Caan, W. and Jenkins, R. (2008),
“Integrating the promotion of child mental
health intonational policies for health sector
reform”, Journal of Public Mental Health,
Vol. 7 No.1, pp. 9-15.
Rimpela, A., Caan, W., Bremberg, S.,
Wiegersma, P.A. and Wolfe, I. (2013),
“Schools and the Health of Children and
Young People”, Lessons without borders.
European Child Health Services and Systems,
OUP & WHO, Maidenhead, pp. 145-182.
DOI 10.1108/JPMH-06-2020-107 VOL. 19 NO. 2 2020, p. 193, ©Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 1746-5729 jJOURNAL OF PUBLIC MENTAL HEALTH jPAGE 193

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