Parents need to understand some crucial legal issues when troubled teenagers reach 18.
One in eight (12.8%) of children and young people aged between five and 19, surveyed in England in 2017, had a mental disorder according to a major new report which provides England’s best source of data on trends in child mental health and troubled teenagers. This article extracts what we consider are the key issues which Legal Planning can ease, and those related primarily to those over 17.
Stephen Pett, M.D. of specialist legal planners Allied Professional Will Writers added: “What parents need to understand when caring for troubled teenagers is they will lose all control on their 18th birthday. They will no longer have any authority over their children’s lives which will pass seamlessly to the Court of Protection, typically advised by Social Services. There is no foolproof way of avoiding this, but the child can sign and register Lasting Powers of Attorney pretty much on their birthday. This can maintain the parents right to support their child in dealings with third parties whether it be on healthcare or other matters. There are restrictions and it has to be set up carefully, but if you have a teenager who needs – and will accept – your help, it is a lot easier, quicker, more certain and cheaper than applying to become the child’s Deputy at the Court of Protection. Typically, the Court is not at all keen on granting Health and Welfare Deputyships, so that side may have to be left t them, but they may agree to grant you a financial deputyship. Or they may decide a professional would be more suitable.”
(You can contact Allied Professional Will Writers Ltd on 01323 741200.)
Troubled teenagers: young people (17 to 19-year-olds.)
One in six (16.9%) 17 to 19-year-olds were found to have a mental disorder with one in 16 (6.4%) experiencing more than one mental disorder at the time of the interview. This age group had the highest rate of emotional disorder (14.9%).
Young women (17 to 19-year-olds)
Females aged 17 to 19 were more than twice as likely as males of the same age to have a mental disorder.
Young women in this age group were also identified as having higher rates of emotional disorder and self-harm than other demographic groups – 22.4% had an emotional disorder.
5.6% of young women were identified as having body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), an anxiety disorder characterised by the obsessive idea that some aspect of their body or appearance is severely flawed and warrants exceptional measures to hide or fix.
Sexual identity and its association with mental disorder.
A third (34.9%) of the young people aged 14 to 19-years-old who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or with another sexual identity had a mental disorder, as opposed to 13.2% of those who identified as heterosexual.
Self-harm and suicide.
A quarter (25.5%) of 11 to 16-year-olds with a mental disorder had self-harmed or attempted suicide at some point, compared to 3.0% of those who were not diagnosed as having a mental disorder. In 17 to 19-year-olds with a mental disorder, nearly half (46.8%) had self-harmed or made a suicide attempt.
Back to the report “Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017”, published by NHS Digital, collected information from 9,117 children and young people and combines information – depending on their age – from children and young people or their parents and teachers.
For the first time, the survey has covered children aged two to 19, whereas previous surveys have focused only on the five to 15-year-old age group.
Looking at the five to 15-year-old age group over time, the report reveals a slight increase in the overall prevalence of mental disorder. For this age group, this has risen from 9.7% in 1999 and 10.1% in 2004 to 11.2% in 2017. When including five to 19-year-olds, the 2017 prevalence is 12.8%, but this cannot be compared to earlier years.
Mental disorders were grouped into four broad categories – emotional, behavioural, hyperactivity and other less common disorders.
Emotional disorders have become more common in five to 15-year-olds – going from 4.3% in 1999, to 3.9% in 2004 to 5.8% in 2017.
All other types of disorder, have remained similar in prevalence for this age group since 1999.
Different disorders were found to be more or less common at different stages of childhood, with rates of mental disorder higher in older age groups.
The report also looked at other aspects of the lives of the children and young people surveyed, including – for the first time – social media, bullying and cyberbullying.
The survey was carried out for NHS Digital by the National Centre for Social Research, the Office for National Statistics and YouthinMind.
Read the full report by NHS Digital must be quoted as the source of this information. with added comments.