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When it’s more than teenage angst

05 June 2015


From the Revd Dr Alison J. Gray

Sir, - Canon Angela Tilby's column on teenage anxieties (Comment, 22 May) touches on a challenging area. For many young people, peer support and counselling are all that they need to get through the difficult teenage years. For about five in each 100, however, their low mood and anxiety are the first signs of a severe and enduring mental illness. Schizophrenia, severe depression, and bipolar disorder all start for most people in their teenage or early adult years.

It is a great challenge for families and professionals alike to recognise these illnesses promptly, since many of the earliest features overlap with normal teen angst. Marked changes in behaviour or mood, severe weight loss, or extreme withdrawal are signs that warrant further investigation: speak to your child's GP. Early intervention in a case of serious mental illness can make a real difference to the rest of a young person's life. Further information is available at www.rcpsych.ac.uk/expertadvice.aspx.

Faith in Health and Healing 2015, at Birmingham University on 17 September, will focus on mental health. See www.birmingham.ac.uk/wphn.


Chair of Faith in Health and Healing 2015 committee
Consultant Psychiatrist
Hereford County Hospital HR1 2ER

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