Setting the record straight on children's mental health and the importance of proper treatment
letter of the day: illness medication
I write in response to your correspondent Brian Daniels ('Invest in treatment, not psychiatrists', Write Back, November 23).
Psychiatrists are medically trained professionals with specialised training in mental illness. This enables psychiatrists to respond to patients on three levels: biological (eg brain structure), psychological (eg patterns of negative thinking) and social (eg spend on appropriate services).
Treatments offered after assessment will usually be a combination of biological, psychological and social and are geared to assist the person to recover.
We agree that prevention - if at all possible - is better than having to intervene once an illness has developed. This is why the college is asking for investment in children's mental health services.
In this context, medication (as well as the talking and social therapies) has a vital role to play in the treatment, or management, across the age range, of certain types of mental illness. To downplay, or misconstrue, the role of medication is potentially dangerous; it is critically important to stress to your readers that they should speak to their GP, or mental health professional, about any medication concerns and they should not follow the directions suggested by your correspondent.
DR GERRY LYNCH
Chair, Royal College of Psychiatrists in Northern Ireland