|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersBlog EntriesVideosLinksBook Reviews|100 Things Guys Need to Know3 NBS of Julian DrewA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainAdolescence and Body ImageAdolescent DepressionAfterAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAmelia RulesAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsArtemis FowlAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBeyond Diversity DayBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBill HensonBipolar DisordersBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoyBoysBrandedBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingCan't Eat, Won't EatCatalystChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinContentious IssuesCrackedCutDancing in My NuddypantsDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDoing ItDoing SchoolDying to Be ThinEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismElijah's CupEllison the ElephantEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEvery Girl Tells a StoryFast GirlsFeather BoyFiregirlForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillGeography ClubGeorgia Under WaterGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlsourceGirlWiseGLBTQGood GirlsGoodbye RuneGranny Torrelli Makes SoupGrowing Up GirlHandbook for BoysHealing ADDHeartbeatHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHollow KidsHow Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHug MeIntrusive ParentingIt's Me!It's Perfectly NormalJake RileyJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKeeping the MoonKilling MonstersKim: Empty InsideKnocked Out by My Nunga-NungasLaura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your MonsterLearning About School ViolenceLeo the Lightning BugLet Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLittle ChicagoLord of the FliesLoserLove and SexLove That DogManicMastering Anger and AggressionMind FieldsMiss American PieMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MonsterMore Than a LabelMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNo Two AlikeNot Much Just Chillin'Odd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOn the Frontier of AdulthoodOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustOvercoming School AnxietyParenting and the Child's WorldParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeriod PiecesPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellPretty in PunkPrincess in the SpotlightProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Psychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsRaising a Self-StarterRaising BlazeRaising Resilient ChildrenReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRineke DijkstraRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRunning on RitalinSay YesSexual Teens, Sexual MediaSexuality in AdolescenceShooterShort PeopleShould I Medicate My Child?Skin GameSmackSmashedStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStoner & SpazStop Arguing with Your KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrong, Smart, & BoldStudent DepressionSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTargeting AutismTeaching Problems and the Problems of TeachingTeen Angst? NaaahThat SummerThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Arctic IncidentThe Bipolar ChildThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Carnivorous CarnivalThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Dream BearerThe Dulcimer Boy The Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Eternity CubeThe Explosive ChildThe Field of the DogsThe First IdeaThe Identity TrapThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Little TernThe Mean Girl MotiveThe Men They Will BecomeThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Nurture AssumptionThe Opposite of InvisibleThe Order of the Poison OakThe Other ParentThe Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Shared HeartThe Spider and the BeeThe StepsThe Thought that CountsThe Unhappy ChildThe Vile VillageThe Whole ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreacherous LoveTrue BelieverTwistedUnhappy TeenagersWay to Be!We're Not MonstersWhat about the KidsWhat Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhere The Kissing Never StopsWhose America?Why Are You So Sad?WinnicottWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!You Hear MeYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
by Peter Aggleton, June Hurry, and Ian Warwick (Editors)
John Wiley & Sons, 2000
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Jun 18th 2004
This collection of twelve papers by
researchers based in the UK address a variety of mental health concerns for
young people. They are grouped into three sections: specific mental health
problems; special groups and special needs; and special contexts and settings.
The authors come from backgrounds in psychiatry, psychology, social work and
education. They address drug and alcohol use, eating disorders, antisocial
behavior, suicide and self-harm, lesbian and gay issues, learning difficulties,
institutionalization, homelessness, and bullying. The articles are serious and
scholarly, citing many references and setting out the current state of knowledge
on these issues, but they are also written clearly and should be accessible to
non-specialists who are ready with the slightly dry academic style.
These papers present standard
information about symptoms and trends in the mental health of children and
adolescents, and spell out briefly the treatments that succeed best. The most
interesting of the papers here tend to go against the trend of seeing the
emotional and behavioral problems of young people as the result of individual
mental disorder. Instead, they contextualize them with regard to specific
social and family causes. In "Young People and Drugs," John Davies
points out that the "War on Drugs" has been a failure, and that with
its emphasis on total refusal of drugs, it has probably overlooked distinctions
between safe and unsafe patterns of drug use. With an underground market in
street drugs and and uncertain ingredients, the danger is considerably
increased. One study found that some drugs sold as ecstasy in fact contained
high doses of ketamine, which has much more serious side effects. Another
important point made by Davies is that the language of addiction and alcoholism
may be unhelpful, and it may be better to see difficulties in controlling drug
and alcohol intake as related to context, with a preferable outcome as being
controlled use rather than abstinence. The refusal to acknowledge the
possibility that drug and alcohol use can be pleasurable and sometimes even
helpful has driven a discourse of drug use as fatalistically dangerous. Once
drug users start thinking in this fatalistic way, they can find it harder to
control their own intake, and the fatalism becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
In the chapter on sexuality and
mental health promotion, Ian Warwick, Christine Oliver and Peter Aggleton
explain that gay and lesbian youth are at higher risk for many mental
illnesses, but that these are related to their treatment at school and by their
parents. They are often bullied by their peers and rejected by their families.
Dealing with these problems is thus as much a social issue as it is
psychological. Another area where the social and the psychological are
profoundly intertwined is homelessness. Davina Lilley reports that it is
estimated that there are a million homeless under the age of 21 in Europe, and
in the USA, there are up to 1.3 million young homeless. About a third of young
people who leave home say it is due to physical abuse, and one in ten say it is
because of sexual abuse. She sets out the high rates of mental illness among
the homeless young: to what extent the illness is the cause or the effect of
living conditions varies from case to case.
While there is a chapter on the
emotional disorders of young people, it is striking that categories such as
bipolar mood disorder and schizophrenia do not get much attention in this
book. It leads one to speculate that there may be a growing divergence between
the USA and Europe in the diagnosis of chronic mental illness in the young, and
it would be interesting to see some discussion of reasons for the increasing
rates of diagnosis of these disorders in the USA.
Young People and Mental Health is
a well-researched assessment of the mental health problems of young people in
the UK. Naturally, some of its claims will be controversial, and it tends to
pay only passing attention to the growing issue of the wisdom of prescribing
psychotropic medications to children. Nevertheless, it is a valuable resource
for those interested in the trends in the psychological welfare of children and
© 2004 Christian
Perring. All rights reserved.
Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities
Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also
editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on
philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.