The World of Mentalists

I started working in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in 2007, which doesn’t sound like a long time ago in the scheme of things. Even so, I’ve noticed a lot of changes in what we do and how we do it. This post is an attempt to summarise those changes – some good, some bad.



CAMHS emerged out of what used to be known as child guidance clinics. These emerged in the early twentieth century to prevent “maladjustment” as it was then called, and to promote emotional wellbeing. There’s a potted history of them here – critics of the DSM-5 might wish to note that using psychiatric jargon to describe delinquent or even merely shy children has a longer heritage than they might think.

As a result, a lot of what was being brought to our doors back in 2007 could be viewed as psychosocial problems…

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