Austerity, poverty, resilience, and the future of mental health services for children and adolescents

Philip Hazell, Richard Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


In its blueprint of 2003 for services for children and adolescents with mental disorders, the WHO says, ‘Child and adolescent mental health is an essential part of overall
health’. The intention of the report was to present ‘updated information useful for formulation of a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Care Plan . . .’ [1]. It provides a summary of the magnitude of the burden of mental ill health that affects children and young people and offers an overview of what it considers to be priority disorders in early childhood, middle childhood and adolescence. The report summarizes trends in caring for children and adolescents with mental disorders that were current when it was published and closes with recommendations for the future (now the present). Importantly, the report considers the cultural relevance and appropriateness of diagnosis, the barriers to care and interventions to reduce those barriers. Significantly, the WHO sees the major
barriers as lack of resources (financial and human), poor facilities, and stigma. Other barriers that deny or delay services include lack of: transportation, ability to communicate
effectively in patients’ first languages, and knowledge about mental disorders. The WHO says improving mental health leads to improved physical health, enhanced productivity and greater societal stability. However, failure to improve mental health leads
to increased crime, unemployment, violence and other risk-related behaviours. These points make the case for considering minors’ needs for effective mental health
services in ways that extend well beyond arguments for improving their well being and mental health, and relieving the suffering of children and families. Our thinking about families’ well being and mental health could not fail to be affected by the number of
catastrophic events that have occurred across the world in the last 12 months: each one draws the needs of children into sharp relief.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Austerity, poverty, resilience, and the future of mental health services for children and adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this