Far be it from me –

Childhood Trauma As A Risk Factor for Psychosis

It is well documented that children who experience difficulties in childhood are at increased risk for various negative mental health outcomes. In the last decade many population based studies have suggested that childhood trauma is a risk factor for psychosis. The link is now well accepted. What do we mean by childhood trauma? Emotional abuse, physical abuse, general abuse, sexual abuse and physical neglect.

Possible pathways are the relationships between negative perception of the self and negative affect, and biological mechanisms such as dysregulated cortisol (a stress hormone) and increased sensitivity to stress. Psychotic patients with a history of childhood trauma tend to have post traumatic stress disorder, high levels of depression and anxiety and are responsible for more suicide attempts.

Children who have been abused are more likely to seek abusive partners as adults as they unconsciously repeat pattens of the past. They are likely to have very low self esteem and be non assertive.

Statistics show that 1 in 4 of us will experience mental health problems; our children are at risk – nearly 12 million of them. That’s why it’s vital that the government provides adequate mental health services for children. Currently only half of all local authorities provide mental health services for children and this is due to government cuts. Recently the government pledged £22m for children’s mental health services but frankly this is a drop in the ocean. If we fail our children and do not protect their mental health we are looking at a ticking time bomb.

The greatest gift you can give to a child is to listen. Not medicate, label and ignore, but listen to what they have to tell you.

The government has to review its spending on children’s mental health or the consequences will be catastrophic.


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