Local mental health services will not have the capacity to
implement new guidelines that state children suffering from
depression should be offered psychological therapy ahead of
medication, a campaigner has warned, writes Simeon
While welcoming the guidelines, published by the National
Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, Young Minds deputy
director Dinah Morley said there were “almost certainly not
enough therapists” to deliver them.
She said that if the guidelines encouraged more people to demand
therapy it would put pressure on new services to be developed, but
said many young people would continue to be forced into the private
sector for treatment.
“What the guidance heralds is a need for a much greater
awareness among all professionals working with children and also
the need to have highly specialised professionals available,”
The guidelines recommend that children with moderate to severe
depression be offered at least three months of cognitive
behavioural, interpersonal or family therapy.
Antidepressants should only be offered in combination with
therapy and should not be offered at all to children with mild
depression, the guidelines say.
Health and social care professionals in primary care, schools or
other relevant settings should be trained to detect symptoms of
depression in children and young people. And attention must also be
given to psychiatric problems in parents, according to the