All professionals working with children should develop mental
health skills to give them a better understanding of
children’s mental health, and how to prevent problems,
according to a government expert on child and adolescent mental
Bob Jezzard, the Department of Health’s senior policy advisor
on child and adolescent mental health and a consultant child and
adolescent psychiatrist at the Maudsley NHS trust, warned that
“a single crass comment made by a professional can do
enormous and lasting damage to a child’s mental
Jezzard was speaking last week at a London conference on the
health and care of children, organised by Gate House in association
with 0-19. He welcomed proposals in the Green Paper, Every Child
Matters, to develop a multi-agency strategy for developing mental
Ten per cent of children and young people have a mental disorder
which persists over time and can impair their future development.
The National Service Framework for children has set provisional
targets for a comprehensive child and adolescent mental health
service across the country – including mental health
promotion and early intervention – by 2006.
Child and adolescent mental health services should grow by at
least 10 per cent each year across the service , measured either by
increased staffing, more patient contacts or more investment, says
the NSF’s emerging findings document.
“But nothing can happen unless we have people with the skills
and competences to undertake the work,” said Jezzard. This
includes people with commissioning expertise, and the specific
skills needed for partnership working, he added.
Read the children’s National Service Framework’s
Emerging Findings document at http://www.doh.gov.uk/nsf/children/emergingfindings.pdf