Child Protection and Mental Health Services

Child Protection and Mental...  
By Nicky Stanley, Bridget Penhale, Denise Riordan, Rosalind S Barbour and Sue Holden.
The Policy Press
ISBN 1861344279

This book is a well designed study that explores mothers’ perceptions of their mental health problems and examines the ways in which professionals conceptualise and try to meet those needs. Since this is bound up with the needs of their children who may be at risk, collaboration between adults’ and children’s services are involved. 

The authors write that the gulf between these two separate services is difficult to bridge. They pinpoint the lack of attention in child and adolescent mental health services to the needs of mothers with mental health problems and a similar lack of understanding by GPs. Also the authors find that psychiatrists and GPs are often too concerned with confidentiality to co-operate.  

This contrasts with some good co-operation between health visitors and child care social workers. The study highlights the value that mothers put on the support that these workers (and community psychiatric nurses) provide.   The authors suggest that there is a need for area child protection committees, or their successors, to have more powers to require agencies to work together. This is a book that policy makers ought to read. 

Anne Bannister is author of Creative Therapies with Traumatised Children (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2003)

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