Wednesday , May 5 2021

Technological traps UK teenagers in mental health crisis – can you save them?

London, July 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – For British teachers who are struggling with a mental health crisis in the classroom, conducting a suicidal clock or hurrying psychotic students in a hospital can become more and more a part of everyday work.

The staff at three London schools recalled that the students were almost lost: the girl who swallowed the pills, the other jumped out of the balcony and the countless teenagers who needed help to stop their self-restoration.

"There are children who deliberately try to get out in front of the cars in the morning and we have to pull them back," said a 12-year-old school employee.

"The child hears voices, says they do not want to live, they can not concentrate in the lesson, they shrink, they cry in a ball, so at that moment we are like," Right, you have to go to (hospital) because you have need help ".

In interviews with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the staff in overcrowded schools said he was involved with nine-year-old students who were suicidal at Google, worried about the image of the body and received unsolicited penis photos.

Mental disorders should become one of the 21st century global health determinants, with the number of patients rising to a potential global cost of $ 16 trillion by 2030, according to the medical journal The Lancet.

The government has promised to do better, as some children wait two years for help when demand rises and services shrink.

But with new initiatives – some at school, other digital ones – they say they are now referring to more children, reaching more minorities and, most importantly, catching them earlier.


Self-harming tripled to 20% among 16 to 24 year-old women in England – usually by cutting or overdosing – between 2000 and 2014, Lancet reports.

"The earlier you intervene, the better," says Lyn Green, a psychologist working with children for 20 years.

"Once belief systems are established, it becomes very difficult to turn them around. The longer they sit there, they almost become part of themselves, part of what I am, and the individuals feel that it is impossible to change. "

Since September, schools in 25 districts will have teams from the National Health Service (NHS), which will help students with less mental health problems and target those with an urgent need.

The government also finances Kooth, an online service that provides information and advice to 70,000 children annually, while phone applications such as BlueIce and TalkLife help young people in the privacy of their home.

Childhood is changing rapidly.

This generation is the first to grow with smartphones and crosses larger academic efforts with all sorts of worries about climate change as well as about everyday friends or adaptation.

Girls are particularly vulnerable, data show.

Almost one out of every four girls in England aged 17 to 19 years has a disorder such as anxiety, depression or mania, official data show, and most have attempted suicide or self-harm.

"We see increased levels of depression or problems with low mood, anxiety, stress," says Green, clinical director of XenZone, who runs the Coutte site.

"It was quite unusual to see under-11s with more complex mental disorders. But now I see much more than that, especially in terms of things like eating disorders and self-harm. "


The NHS gives free speaking therapies to more than 1 million adults with depression and anxiety each year. Now she offers similar treatment to schoolchildren rather than clinics.

This reduces stigma and raises the level of parental consent, says Becky Maharaj, an NHS employee working in London schools. She said that almost 80% of her patients are from ethnic minorities.

Maharaj helps the perfectionist girls build social skills by working online chat to hang out with real friends.

"There is a link between the level of social anxiety we see and isolation," said Maharaj, as all forms of communication are moving increasingly online. – It's very unnatural.

"While in real life, they can just make mistakes and say stupid things … instead of this constructed reality."

Jane was so eager to make mistakes at school that she was constantly studying, struck her head at the desk in tears, and often refused to go in. Other days her mother took her to the gate to accompany her and cry.

"I did not really want to open for it, but once you start you can not stop," said the 13-year-old who has since collided with his biggest fears and has survived a detention, and now he is busy with basketball time in conversation with her mother.

– You have that weight that's lifted up from your shoulders … before sleeping a lot. I'm more energetic now. And I feel like another person. "

The National Health Service aims to reach four schools by 2023 – a goal that, according to health professionals, lacks ambition.


This is the technology that offers the most revolutionary promise.

TalkLife is the world's most popular application for mental health youth with more than one million users, most of whom have never previously sought help, said Jennifer Russell, Chief Operating Officer.

"The strength of social ties and the uniting of people when they struggle is the most protective factor that exists when someone is suicidal," she said.

"You can join a platform like TalkLife and see immediately that you are not alone."

TalkLife – who has raised $ 1.8 million from investors looking for social impact – uses artificial intelligence developed by Harvard University to predict whether consumers will likely attempt to commit suicide or self-harm to intervene.

Online anonymity also attracts teenagers who are afraid to become public – Coate's advisers have slowly earned the trust of a girl who has been prepared by a drug gang and has called her to call the police.

NHS psychologist Paul Stoldart has developed a BlueIce application that helps young people cope with the desire to harm themselves.

"Most of those who grow up actually do not have any help from any kind of service," he said.

In September, Stallard began a trial, partly funded by the National Health Service, to monitor the impact of BlueIce and see if it reduced the number of children who rushed to emergency and emergency services.

"If this prevents just one episode of visiting A & E, it saves huge sums of money," he said. "It provides a cheap way to reach a large number of people." (Report by Katie Migiro, edited by Lindsay Griffiths) Please acknowledge the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Thomson Reuters charity, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights and LGBT +, human trafficking, property rights and climate change. .trust org)

Our Standards:Trust Principles of Thomson Reuters.

Source link