Saturday, January 24, 2009

CBT to be used in Schools

Firstly, let me apologise to anyone who is waiting for a reply to an email or a blog comment - I will reply, I just can't say when at the moment.

I've read in the news tonight/this morning (depending on if you have slept yet or not, which I haven't) that the government is to fund a trial of CBT in schools in Bath, Bristol, Nottingham, and Swindon. Although some may doubt the effectiveness of CBT, this to me seems to be a positive step forward for many reasons:

  • The pupils will fill in a questionnaire to assess their mood and to pick up on any signs of depression. For many youths, this means they may get help a lot sooner than they would normally.
  • It also removes from them the daunting task of having to ask for help.
  • Hopefully it will mean that depression will be discussed openly and become less stigmatised.
  • It may even lead to early recognition of other, more serious, mental illnesses.
  • If group CBT is successful, that's obviously a good thing. And it could teach youths valuable coping strategies for the future.
  • If later questionnaires prove that the CBT has been unhelpful for some, then I presume they would be referred for other forms of treatment - again, possibly earlier than they would have been normally.

And we all know that early treatment often means better success rates.

Whether they decide that CBT is an effective treatment or not, I hope questionnaires and discussions about depression and other mental health problems continues in schools. Surely this can only be a good thing? What are your views?

Full news report here.


Mrs. Dreamer said...

I've been wondering what you've been up to. Glad to hear from you.

Katherine said...

I've always found CBT distinctly un-useful myself, but that is certainly not a universal truth. Anything that would aid people in getting help more quickly is a good, so long as their rights are simultaneously preserved.

I've just started following your blog after finding it on The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive and I'm glad you're posting again!

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you Mrs. Dreamer and Katherine. It's been a while hasn't it? I'm still fighting off those winter "blues".

Katherine, my personal (though uneducated) view is that some depressions are caused by life events and could probably be treated with CBT, whereas others are caused by a chemical imbalance and need medication. Sometimes I think it can be a mixture of the two.

Katherine said...

I quite agree with you that some are caused by life events and can truly be helped by things like CBT. It seems to me that it could also be quite helpful for sub-clinical difficulties, such as negative feelings from being bullied.
I really do mean that it is unhelpful for me personally: I seem to not even need a life trigger to run off into depression anymore, unfortunately. I imagine I'd feel a little differently if that were not the case. However, I do think that in children especially, some kind of therapy is much the best first resort and CBT, with its particularly well documented beneficial effects had might as well be tried first as any other kind of therapy.
Sympathies on the winter blues. I always lose December, myself.

Valash said...

Hello, I found your blog after googling "schizophrenia blogspot." I have schizophrenia as well and want to provide information about the illness to overcome stigma, check out my blog at:


Anonymous said...

i hadn't heard about this until i read it here. I have to say, I do think it's a really good idea. For me, the two main advantages are early detection and more discussion about mental health, which on the stigma front, surely has to be a good thing.

I think actually that mental health awareness should be part of health and social care in schools, or personal development or whatever they call it these days. Attitudes are rooted early on, which is why I have been teaching my boys basic stuff about mental health and illness...i think it's really important..anyway, i fear i have waffled and go off on a tangent :)

take care MMW X

in-the-margins said...

I live in one of the pilot site areas, and it's been tried before in primary schools. The 'FRIENDS' programme trained school nurses to deliver a CBT-based programme to primary school children, aimed at increasing emotional resilience and being a preventative measure. I think it has been quite successful so far.

I'm always dubious about the value of CBT as a 'one size fits all' approach to psychotherapeutic care, but I think this is one setting in which it could be very useful. Thinking back to when I was 14 or so, I was desperately miserable and wanting help, but was too scared to ask for it. I think I would, however, have answered a questionnaire type thing honestly, because deep down I really wanted to be noticed. Perhaps if it had been picked up that bit earlier, then I wouldn't be so entrenched. Perhaps.

Anonymous said...

Good to see you back MMW, missed your blogging and hope those winter blues are getting a bit better. I have some good news, I have been offered a job as a support time and recovery worker in the EIIP team, so happy!!
hope Mr Man is well also.


Robert said...

It's got to be worth a trial. What have we got to lose? At worst, it will highlight mental health issues to adolescents and hopefully engender useful debates. At best, it might discover some at-risk teenagers before their problems become too acute.

Elizabeth B. Alexander said...

The earlier teens learn coping mechanisms the better. I think learning how to recognize and self-monitor helps limit those infamous impulsive decisions.

Nice blog.

Mr Mans Wife said...

I agree Katherine, a therapy aimed at changing your thought pattern can't be very helpful to one whose depression comes out of the blue for no apparent reason, not in connection to any thought or event.

Hi Valash/Ashley, welcome to my blog. I will certainly take a look at yours and add you to my blogroll. Thanks for commenting.

Margery, feel free to waffle as much as you like! I agree with your view that attitudes develop early and mental health awareness should be taught in schools. Maybe the kids will go home and teach their parents something too!

In the Margins, you make some very good points. I think CBT is usually individualised for the patient, which of course it can't be in a group setting, but at least the opportunity to be heard and receive help is there.

That's great news about the job offer Slurry! I hope that goes well for you! Thank you so much for dropping in to check up on us!

I fully agree Robert. Thanks for dropping by :)

Thank you Elizabeth :) I agree, recognising and self monitoring of symptoms is so important. Unfortunately I think depression can be difficult to recognise the first time round.

Thank you everyone for your comments :)