Recent research showed that teenagers aged between 13 and 18 presenting with anxiety were being offered treatment developed for children aged up to 12 but simply tweaked. For example, instead of images of teddy bears used for children, teenagers were shown pictures of grumpy teenagers. It is offensive, demeaning and not befitting of a health service in a developed country in the 21st century.
Being a teenager is tough enough. You are hormonal, facing life changing exams, or at least that is what school leads you to believe, they start being attracted to members of the opposite sex and are changing very rapidly from children into young adults. To find yourself suffering anxiety attacks, that you cannot explain, can be frightening. A teddy bear won’t cut the mustard.
Teenagers are also very fragile and not treating them with respect or care can put them at risk of graduating to problems with drugs, alcohol or worse become suicidal. It is a big ask to care and support them through this turmoil.
Health professionals and policy makers have for too long travelled the road that one size can be stretched to fit any individual. It can’t. Like teenagers, every individual is unique and each has their own specific needs and possible outcomes. The skill needed of those trusted to guide and support any vulnerable individual, is to develop models that can help them work towards a satisfactory outcome for them and society.
Here at ubu we have developed uStep for vulnerable individuals, whatever their age or diagnoses. We work with all the people we serve to discover how they want to live their lives. We develop a unique plan that is bespoke and uniquely theirs and then support them to achieve their goals.
uStep is all about placing each person at the heart of their own care, to support them and enable them to achieve their personal ambitions and goals. As equal citizens each person we serve has bespoke goals,
Teenagers equally have aspirations and helping them develop and take personal control is based around the same model of respect. By placing the individual in the driving seat of their own support always results in improved outcomes so that more teenagers with anxiety can achieve a full recovery and avoid the turmoil of additional mental health.
The recent announcement that young people presenting with mental health issues should be treated within two weeks is a breakthrough. Let us not make the mistake of giving them the wrong treatment but let’s take a bit of time to find the best care and support that is right for each individual case. uStep is equally for these vulnerable teenagers ensuring they too learn to own and control their plan to gain greater and safer independence