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Corporal Punishment

category national | consumer issues | opinion/analysis author Monday November 22, 2004 20:14author by Sean Crudden - imperoauthor email sean at impero dot iol dot ieauthor address Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co Louth.author phone 087 9739945 Report this post to the editors

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Is corporal punishment for children resurrecting itself in a new form? What are the aims and objectives of child and adolescent psychiatry anyway?

Permit me to quote from an article headed "Reports gather dust as children wait for suitable care" written by Carl OBrien in The Irish Times today (Monday 22 November 2004):

"There are just 20 in-patient beds with specialised services for children or adolescents in the entire country, with experts suggesting there should be at least 120 beds."

No. It is not the numbers that concern me - it is the underlying assumption that "beds" are the way to treat young people with mental health problems. The idea, to be blunt about it, seems to be to stick them to a bed (night and day) and anchor them heavily with tranquillisers.

Now I am the last person you might expect to deny the reality of mental illness but on the basis of life-long experience my contention is that the drug therapies of the past half century have been punishing, inhuman, hopeless for many mental patients. To foist this methodology onto rising generations of the best of young people who may be experiencing only temporary difficulty with authoritarian teachers, addiction or aggressive and misled parents is to start a chain of events that the word "tragic" only begins to describe.

A paragraph further on in the article gives some cause for hope. It is a quote out of a four year old report from The Department of Healths working group on child and adolescent psychiatry.

"Existing adult services are not resourced to deal with adolescents. They lack appropriate multidisciplinary input which would centre around family, schools and social intervention."

In very general terms it seems to me that more genuine and developmental ideas from the field of education are needed to fertilise psychiatry. On the other hand I think that psychiatry (in its present guise) will be found to be a false friend where child rearing and schools are concerned. Or, perhaps, psychiatry is only being exploited by inadequate practitioners in other fields?

Related Link: http://www.iol.ie/~impero/
author by Gerry Mc Carthypublication date Thu Nov 25, 2004 00:49author address Carlingfordauthor phone Report this post to the editors


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