ACP member Neil Austin provides expert advice to Annalisa Barbieri for her Problem Solved column in the Guardian regarding a 16-year-old girl who has a history of mental health issues and has been out of education since she was 12. The family have had some input from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), but feel that nothing has helped. The girl is convinced that she needs a sex change, but had never previously shown any inclination to be anything other than female.The girl's mother reports being worried about of the amount of time she spends on the internet.
Neil Austin, head of child and adolescent psychotherapy at Great Ormond Street Hospital, stressed that it was really important not to give up on CAMHS, "even if your daughter won’t engage at present. If she won’t attend herself, they can help you to access specialist treatment."
Austin commented that the girl in question seemed to have "a longstanding difficulty in expressing herself". He added: “What your daughter really needs is somewhere she can safely explore and express who she is. A place where she could begin to bring all her emotions.” He also reflected on the expertise of our members to help with these kinds of difficulties.
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