Lamb urges online therapy for teenagers with Depression and McInnes urges Scottish Government to improve mental health services for young people

Norman Lamb has been talking to the Times (£)  about different ways of helping children and teenagers with Depression. This could include accessing therapy via an internet app. This would augment, to replace traditional face to face therapy:

MPs on the health select committee said this month that mental health services for children and teenagers were inadequate from prevention to crisis care, as they reported increasing concerns over cyberbullying and self-harm websites.

Mr Lamb wants to use online tools to solve some of these problems, including computerised cognitive behavioural therapy, online counselling and peer support networks for the mentally ill.

“If you’re a teenager and your world revolves around digital access, we must make sure you get access to therapy online. So these programmes are being developed. We’ve got a taskforce looking at how we can modernise children and young people’s mental health and that’s one of the key elements to it,” he told The Times.

“What I want to achieve is a much more seamless service that allows you access online, face to face or over the telephone, whichever is appropriate.”

Some programmes had already been shown to work, he said. “These platforms are evidence-based so the risk is very low that they’re not appropriate. Some people may need more than that so you have to have access to a gradation of different type of service.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat conference also looked at the issue of young people’s mental health provision, with Alison McInnes leading calls for improvement. At the moment, young people who need hospital treatment can be treated either at home or in adult wards. The Press and Journal reports:

Ms McInnes said the lack of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) beds in the north was “shocking” and “unacceptable”.

“Young people should be treated in an age-appropriate environment and that is not possible in the north and north-east,” she added.

“The fact this motion was unanimously backed tells the Scottish Government it is not good enough and they need to do everything they can to ensure that mental health provision for children and young people is person-centred and appropriate for people in their local area.

Ms McInnes said a decision to invest £15million in services over three years was “a drop in the ocean” and SNP ministers must increase investment and treat mental health in the same way as physical health.

“If we don’t treat young people properly, appropriately and timeously we are just stacking up problems for the future – we are really failing people.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • How does policy square with this?

    (which may or may not actually be true but I’ve not seen any response to it

  • Bill le Breton 25th Nov '14 - 9:04pm

    Or with these huge cuts that must be made to achieve this deal with the Tories: … z3K52l9O3i

  • Bill le Breton 25th Nov '14 - 9:07pm
  • Tsar Nicolas 25th Nov '14 - 9:41pm

    Does anyone think that mental health may be linked in some way to the health of the economy?

    if you are plagued by worry over how you are going to pay your bills, get enough food, not default on the mortgage, I would say that you are at risk of depression or some such illness.

    Of course, mental ill-health pre-dates 2010, but the economic conditions of the last few years haven’t helped.

  • @ Tsar Nicolas

    “Does anyone think that mental health may be linked in some way to the health of the economy?”

    I would have thought that anyone who was suffering extreme stress resulting in anxiety or depression would do their work a great deal better if they did not have these worries. However, it seems to me that lack of opportunity to use your natural talents to make a living is also very stressful. Seldom has their been a time in recent years when there have been such a limited range of jobs for both young and old.

    Earning enough to live removes certain worries, but being obliged to do a tedious undemanding job when you have a real talent for another kind of work will also take its toll in the longer term.

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