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
Faith in Health and Healing 2015, at Birmingham University on 17
September, will focus on mental health. See www.birmingham.ac.uk/wphn.
ALISON J. GRAY
Chair of Faith in Health and Healing 2015 committee
Hereford County Hospital HR1 2ER