Reframing how we work with children and young people in distress

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Dr Kathy Evans has taught in special education for over fifteen years, and has specialised in working with pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Kathy runs the MA CAMH (Child and Adolescent Mental Health) and the Postgraduate Certificate CAMH (Child and Adolescent Health) course, which run in partnership with Dr Rhiannon Cobner and Aneurin Bevan University Hospital Board.

These are the only courses of their kind in Wales and one of very few similar courses available in England. The courses provide a non-clinical route for generalist and more specialist practitioners, managers and researchers to develop their knowledge of CAMH in a broad context.  

"The key aspects of working in this area," says Kathy, "and the principle we want to instill in our students is to reframe how we work with children and young people in distress."

  • We need to ask children 'what happened to you' rather than 'what’s wrong with you?'
  • We need to understand distress as perhaps being a sign that there is something not right in the child’s environment.
  • Creating the right conditions in the child’s environment can lead to an improvement in the signs of distress.
  • We need to work collaboratively with children and young people to order to co-create culturally appropriate solutions.
  • Relationships between professionals and children and young people are key to promoting positive exchange.