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Kate Fallon's Speech for Motion 68 on Day One at the TUC Congress, on Monday 10th September 2012.
"President, Congress, please support this motion.
It highlights the increased numbers of children and young people who are reported to have mental health difficulties and expresses concern around the future psychiatric diagnosis in children and young people.
Every day there are media stories about the numbers of our children who have mental health difficulties.
Only within this last week Young Minds has reported studies on male anorexia, on self-harming, on attempted suicides.
Reported data indicates continued increases in the numbers of children causing concern. Why?
Mental health difficulties are linked with family/social/environmental factors.
When children are insecure and frightened, when they feel pressured and stressed they demonstrate behaviours which should tell responsive adults around them that something’s wrong.
Something wrong may be family breakups, bereavements, financial crises, substance abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse.
Something wrong may be too much pressure to achieve high grades in your exams, too much pressure to be very thin or very beautiful, to hang out with the “cool kids”, to have all the latest gear.
Here in the UK the awareness of this link between children’s environments and their mental health has increased.
Successive governments have acknowledged this by putting more resources into support and help for the children and for the adults around them.
We welcome the work that has been done, bringing professionals together to do this work….our own members have received credit for their work in schools.
We want this approach to continue.
We want the issues which lead to children’s mental health difficulties to be addressed…
to help children feel safe in their homes and schools,
to help the adults who love and work with the children to be able to meet their needs and to be helped when they struggle to do so.
We want the children to be given support to cope with stress and pressure when faced with it.
We need government policies which support strong, healthy communities, schools and families.
But, we’re worried.
We’re worried about the new edition of the internationally recognised medical diagnostic manual - DSM5- which is on its way from America and is due to be introduced here next year
The manual describes psychiatric disorders and provides a checklist for doctors to use in diagnosis.
The new checklist is so broad that, if adopted here without qualification, there may be many, many more children and young people being diagnosed with psychiatric disorders.
New categories are subjective and unscientific.
A shy child may be diagnosed with social anxiety;
|"How Normal Behaviour Became a Sickness."|
A sad, grieving or temporarily withdrawn child could be diagnosed with depression.
So, when our children demonstrate worrying behaviours we can say that there’s something the matter with them – not that there are things the matter with the world they’re living in.
Children whose needs are not being met by the adults around them will be termed as having a psychiatric disorder….
Diagnoses of psychiatric disorders very often lead to drug therapy….we’re worried that more children diagnosed with psychiatric disorders will lead to an increased use of drug therapy and long term reliance on medication rather than an emphasis on changing the child’s environment.
In America there have even been concerns about links between the panel who drew up the new guidelines and some large pharmaceutical companies…….
Do you want large pharmaceutical companies deciding whether or not our children have psychiatric disorders?
We cannot let this happen….
We want NICE and the Department for Health to recognise the concerns about DSM5 and warn clinicians about its limitations.
Congress, please support this motion.
We want to improve help and services for children not increase the numbers of them being labelled as psychiatrically disordered.
Congress, I move
AND THANK YOU KATE FROM THE VULNERABLE CHILDREN OF THE U.K. WHO BIG PHARMA WANT TO COLONISE WITH THEIR PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS.