Mental health interventions for children and young people with long-term health conditions

Almost a quarter of children and young people in England have a long-term health condition, such as asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy. We know that these young people are at increased risk of developing mental health difficulties, and may be referred to Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services for treatment.

However, not much is known about the types of mental health support these services offer to children with co-existing physical health needs, or if this support is effective. The aim of this study was to try and find this out.

CORC’s Informatics Lead, Ben Ritchie supported this study by analysing data in collaboration with colleagues at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health. He searched the anonymised CORC dataset for young people with serious physical health issues and neurological issues, where the mental health treatments they used had been recorded.

For these particular groups of young people, he summarised the treatments they used, the changes in their mental health, and progress towards their goals. He then discussed and interpreted the results with our colleagues, who placed them within the broader context of service provision for young people with long term health conditions.

In the sample looked at, a range of mental health treatments were delivered to young people in both groups. Encouragingly, the mental health of many of these young people improved. However the sample was small, and there was less information than we might hope for recorded in the datasets about children with long-term health conditions.

Going forward, it would be useful to think about how services can collect more information.

This was an interesting piece of research that combined our experience of analysing mental health data with the clinical and service delivery knowledge of our colleagues at UCL Great Ormond Institute of Child Health.

You can access the full paper here within Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry

If you are planning to conduct research and need support with data analysis, please get in touch to enquire how we could help.

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