Childhood unusual experiences in community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in South East London: Prevalence and impact

Kimberley Gin, Partha Banerjea, Chris Abbott, Sophie Browning, Karen Bracegirdle, Richard Corrigall, Suzanne Jolley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background: Distressing ‘psychotic-like’ or unusual experiences (UEDs) signify increased mental health risk in the general population, including greater likelihood and severity of co-occurring non-psychotic mental health problems, and, from fourteen years of age, increased risk of a future psychotic illness. Healthcare guidelines for under eighteens recommend psychological intervention for UEDs, to reduce current distress and adverse functional impact, and, potentially, future mental health risk. Children tend not to report UEDs unless directly asked, indicating a need for routine screening. We report on the feasibility of a routine screening methodology, and screening outcomes, in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in South East London, United Kingdom.

Method: Four general community CAMHS teams were invited to screen, by adding a nine-item self-report UED measure to their routine assessment battery. Screening data were collected over 18 months from 02/2015 to 07/2016.

Results: All but one team agreed to screen. Each team saw around 300 accepted referrals during the audit period (total: 900); 768 of these (85%) were successfully screened; of those screened, 68% (n = 524) self-reported UEs, 60% (n = 461) with associated distress/adverse functional impact. Screening was acceptable to clinicians, children and families.

Conclusions: Assessing UEDs routinely in CAMHS is feasible, and suggests that around two thirds of assessed referrals could potentially benefit from interventions targeting UEDs. Additional training may be required for the CAMHS workforce to address this need.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Early online date2 Sept 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Sept 2017

Keywords

  • Psychotic-like experiences, PLEs
  • Screening
  • Emotional symptoms
  • Childhood psychopathology
  • Paediatric

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