New research study funded by the NSPCC and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) published
Queen's University Belfast has published a new research study, jointly funded by the NSPCC and the ESRC, exploring what can be done to improve the recognition and understanding of the mental health needs of young people who have experienced abuse and neglect.1
The study, published in Child Abuse Review, looks at whether mental health symptoms could be reliably assessed outside of a clinical setting. Staff in voluntary sector organisations used short standardised instruments to screen for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety symptoms in a group of 141 young people attending two support services in Northern Ireland.
Nearly three quarters (72.3%) of participants showed signs of possible post-traumatic stress. Those young people often had experiences of child protection, or had experienced bereavement or loss. Many also had previous contact with mental health services. Around half the sample number also showed signs of anxiety or depression.
The study showed that staff were successful in reliably measuring symptoms in up to three quarters of the cases that were followed up with a clinical assessment. The study also highlights the important role that social care and voluntary sector services play in recognising post-traumatic stress in young people who have experienced abuse and neglect.
ReferencesDuffy, M. et al (2021) Screening children with a history of maltreatment for PTSD in front line social care organisations: an explorative study. Child Abuse Review, 30(6): 594-611.